England confirm ‘One Love’ World Cup campaign abandoned after FIFA threaten sanctions

England captain Harry Kane pictured wearing the One Love armband.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

England, Wales and other European teams won’t wear the ‘One Love’ armband at the World Cup following threats by FIFA to book captains who promoted the campaign.

Eight nations were planning to wear the multi-coloured armband throughout the tournament in Qatar, where homosexuality is illegal.

England, the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and Wales joined forces for the campaign to “promote inclusion and send a message against discrimination of any kind”. 

But the risk of players being sanctioned led to a joint statement from the nations on Monday, announcing that they have backed down.  

"FIFA has been very clear that it will impose sporting sanctions if our captains wear the armbands on the field of play,” read the statement.

“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 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.”

England captain Harry Kane said on the eve of the Three Lions’ first game against Iran on Monday that he wanted to wear the armband.

"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,” the statement continued.

“Our players and coaches are disappointed – they are strong supporters of inclusion and will show support in other ways."

The decision came after FIFA announced on the eve of the tournament that they would be promoting their own armband campaign.

Captains will wear bands promoting a variety of messages supporting different social campaigns at different stages of the tournament.

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