The Welsh skipper Gareth Bale, Englands Harry Kane and seven other World Cup captains plan to wear the ‘OneLove; armband to show support for diversity and inclusion in Qatar, where same-sex relationships are illegal.
The governing body of world football wants each country to wear their armbands to promote things like the environment, education, healthy living, children’s safety, and not being biassed. But the anti-discrimination armband won’t be worn until the World Cup is almost over.
The Netherlands started the OneLove campaign before Euro 2020, and England, Wales, and the other seven countries want their captains to keep it going.
But FIFA could punish both Gareth Southgate’s team and Rob Page’s team so badly that they would have to quit the campaign. Participating teams are worried that their captains could be arrested right away if they wear an armband that isn’t allowed.
If that’s the case, Kane and Bale could be suspended for the November 29 game between England and Wales. If a player gets two yellow cards at the World Cup, FIFA will ban them for one game. It also makes them more likely to be sent off.
The Athletic reported that the FA would be okay with a fine as a punishment for wearing the OneLove armband. Still, players like Kane and Bale will find it hard to accept a yellow card for the protest. People are anxious to hear from FIFA soon.
Today (Nov 21), England’s World Cup starts with a game against Iran at the Khalifa International Stadium. Wales, which is led by Rob Page, will also be taking on USA this evening at the Al Rayyan Stadium.
Manuel Neuer, the captain of Germany, has said that he will wear the OneLove armband no matter what FIFA says. The Netherlands captain Virgil van Dijk also wants to help with the campaign, but he says he “would have to talk about it” to see if he will be booked for it.
“I think we’ve made it clear as a team and a staff and organisation that we want to wear the armband,” said Kane on Sunday. I know the FA are talking to FIFA at the moment, and I’m sure by game-time tomorrow they will have their decision. But, yeah, I think we’ve made it clear that we want to wear it.”
England manage Gareth Southgate added: “There’s nothing I can add to what Harry has said. I know there are some conversations going on. I think a number of European countries have spoken. We’ve made our position clear, so hopefully everything will be resolved before the game.”
Bale said: “Us as footballers, it’s been a difficult subject to talk about. We can shed a light on problems that are going on. We’ve spoken to the FAW, they’ve been speaking to the Welsh Government who have been speaking to Qatar and FIFA in working on these issues.
“For us as players we are fully behind it and support everything we can do. Us as footballers, the most we can do is make awareness and it’s for people higher up to hopefully make change for the better. We support everything in terms of the armband and we’ll be doing as much as we can to hopefully get change in the right way.”