Football fans fuming as England, Wales and five other European nations back down from wearing OneLove armband intended to protest discrimination in Qatar

World Cup: England, Wales and five other European nations back down from wearing the OneLove armband intended to protest discrimination in Qatar.

Team captains are expected to wear FIFA-approved armbands promoting different social messages throughout the tournament.


The 2022 World Cup in Qatar is underway and, despite numerous assurances otherwise, it’s already proving problematic in some practical areas that have left fans fuming.


Football governing body FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association) has been heavily condemned since announcing that the 2022 World Cup would be held in Qatar, where homosexuality is still criminalised, and same-sex marriages are not recognised by the government.

Currently in Qatar, same sex intercourse is punishable by flogging, stoning to death or up to seven years in prison and multiple appeals to suspend these laws during the World Cup were thrown out. 


As a result of Qatar’s appalling human rights record, various people have wound themselves, for want of better words, “in the shit” over their continued money deals with the country: David Beckham has faced controversy, Gary Neville has faced controversy, politicians have faced controversy for effectively telling us just “don’t be so gay and you’ll be fine“.


Hot off the heels of Qatar FIFA World Cup ambassador Khalid Salman said saying that being gay is “damage in the mind”, and as the tournament gets underway, it was revealed today (November 21) that England, Wales and five other European nations have all backed down from wearing the OneLove armband, intended as a silent protest to all forms of discrimination.


The decision came after they were warned by FIFA they would face sporting sanctions, and that their captains could be booked or even forced to leave the pitch.

Instead, FIFA-approved armbands promoting different social messages will be worn throughout the tournament.


In a statement the seven federations, also including Belgium, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands and Switzerland, shared their disappointment at FIFA’s demands.

“Fifa has been very clear that it will impose sporting sanctions if our captains wear the armbands on the field of play,” they said. “As national federations, we can’t put our players in a position where they could face sporting sanctions including bookings, so we have asked the captains not to attempt to wear the armbands in Fifa World Cup games.

“We were prepared to pay fines that would normally apply to breaches of kit regulations and had a strong commitment to wearing the armband. However, we cannot put our players in the situation where they might be booked or even forced to leave the field of play.”




one love armband england
One Love?

It was also expressed that the federations had contacted FIFA way back in September, tto say they planned to wear the rainbow armband, but heard nothing back – until Sunday evening.


“We are very frustrated by the Fifa decision which we believe is unprecedented – we wrote to Fifa in September informing them of our wish to wear the One Love armband to actively support inclusion in football, and had no response,” they said. “Our players and coaches are disappointed – they are strong supporters of inclusion and will show support in other ways.”


BBC LGBT Sport Podcast presenter Jack Murley said on BBC 5 Live that it felt like a “gut punch”, during a broadcast clip (below), where the host sounded audibly upset:

“It feels like a bit of a gut punch to me to hear that a symbol of who you are being OK can get you booked at football’s greatest tournament,” Murley said. “That is an extraordinary place to arrive at in 2022.”


Update: ‘Sexy Beast, actor Ray Winstone sent a message for England captain Harry (‘arry) Kane, following the squad’s decision not to wear the anti-discrimination armbands because of threats from FIFA.


Folk took to social media to share their upset/ anger/ disappointment over the armbands, given it would have been a small but symbolic gesture that someone official visibly gave a shit.


BBC Sports presenter Alex Scott defiantly rocked a OneLove armband while reporting on England’s World Cup game in Qatar. Icon.


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