European football captains abandon rainbow-colored armbands in Qatar

European football captains abandon rainbow-colored armbands in Qatar

Sporting sanctions likely to be imposed if any captain appears with 'One Love' armband during World Cup

By Can Erozden

ANKARA (AA) – England, Wales, the Netherlands and Germany captains will not wear the "One Love" armband during the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar for a possible booking risk.

"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 English, Welsh and German football bodies said in a joint statement to reverse their decisions.

So England captain Harry Kane, Welsh skipper Gareth Bale, German goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, and Dutch defender Virgil van Dijk will not wear the "One Love" armband in Qatar.

The FIFA sanctions may include a booking or to be removed from the pitch.

"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," the football bodies added.

But England, Wales and Germany added that they are "very frustrated by the FIFA decision," and their players and coaches are "disappointed."

The Dutch football body (KNVB) also released a similar message on their website as their priority in the World Cup to "win the games" so the KNVB decided to abandon their plan too.

The KNVB began the "One Love" campaign prior to the EURO 2020 to spread anti-discrimination message.

Qatar, however, criminalizes same-sex relationships and their promotion.

According to FIFA's equipment regulations, the captain of each team should wear an armband provided by FIFA.

"If FIFA provides a choice of captain's armbands, the captain should wear the one that contrasts most clearly with the sleeve on which it is worn," FIFA added.

The Qatar 2022 kicked off Sunday and will run through Dec. 18.

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