FIFA said they would punish Garth Bale and Harry Kane if they wore the One Love armbands at this year’s World Cup.
Even though Qatar has strict laws against same-sex relationships, the UK football captains had to wear the bands to show support for the LGBTQ+ community.
But an FA statement released today (Nov 21) said, “FIFA has been very clear that it will take sporting sanctions if our captains wear the armbands on the field of play.”
“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.
“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.
“Our players and coaches are disappointed – they are strong supporters of inclusion and will show support in other ways.”
Commenting on the news, Welsh Conservative Shadow Minister for Sport, Tom Giffard MS said:
“The Welsh Football Association, among others, wrote to FIFA in September alerting them to the decision of players to wear the OneLove armband, to no response.
“The sudden change in decision here is clearly a sign of direct interference from FIFA as a result of reservations by the Qatari authorities.
“We back the Welsh FA’s decision to not instruct Gareth Bale to wear the armband, as subjecting him to a booking would be unfair to the team and to him. This difficult decision has in fact highlighted the issue, bringing it to the forefront of World Cup coverage, perhaps even more than simply wearing the armband could have.”