England team forced to abandon One Love armband protest after threats from Fifa

England and several other European countries have abandoned the One Love armband protest after a statement from Fifa.

England and Europe back down over One Love armband protest in Qatar
© Sarah Stier - Fifa - Getty Images
England and Europe back down over One Love armband protest in Qatar

England captain Harry Kane will not wear the One Love armband this World Cup after it was confirmed today that players who do so will be disciplined in the form of a yellow card, as per The Mirror.

Discover our latest podcast

The controversy over the One Love armband advocating LGBTQ+ rights in Qatar had been escalating in the build up to England's World Cup opening game against Iran. England had been seeking clarity about how Fifa would treat the issue amid fears that wearing the armband could result in an immediate booking.


England and Europe back down over One Love armband protest in Qatar Eddie Keogh - The FA - Getty Images

Whilst England’s Football Association (FA) and several other European countries had been committed to the protest, they have made a last minute U-turn in their statement today, as per The Mirror:

FIFA has been very clear that it will impose 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.

The FA commented further in their statement about their frustration with the decision by Fifa, as per The Mirror:

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.


The announcement has caused a mixture of disappointment and outrage amongst the fans, the Football Supporters’ Association stating, as per Eurosport:

Today we feel betrayed. Today we feel contempt for an organisation that has shown its true values by giving the yellow card to players and the red card to tolerance.
No country which falls short on LGBT+ rights, women’s rights, worker’s rights or any other universal human right should be given the honour of hosting a World Cup.

The One Love armbands are part of a campaign 'to promote inclusion and send a message against discrimination of any kind'. The initiative was launched by the Netherlands and although it is not specifically linked to anti-LGBTQ+ laws, the armbands are being worn to promote inclusivity in countries where there are laws against same-sex relationships, such as Qatar, as per the Evening Standard.

England Manager Gareth Southgate had previously been hopeful that the situation would be resolved before the game but will be disappointed by this outcome. The team however will still be taking the knee before games in protest against racism and discrimination, with the manager stating, as per the Daily Express:

We feel we should. We think it's a strong statement that will go around the world, especially for young people, that inclusivity is important

Sources used:

- The Mirror 'Harry Kane will NOT wear 'OneLove' armband in World Cup opener amid FIFA row'


- Daily Express 'England confirm players will take a knee at Qatar World Cup to make 'strong statement''

- Evening Standard 'What is the One Love armband worn by Harry Kane at Qatar World Cup?'

Women’s World Cup: The rebellion against FIFA's ban of One Love armband has started Women’s World Cup: The rebellion against FIFA's ban of One Love armband has started