FA suggest England may back down over wearing One Love armband at World Cup 2022

FA suggest England may back down over wearing One Love armband at World Cup 2022

FA chief executive Mark Bullingham has suggested England will abandon plans for Harry Kane to wear a rainbow-coloured captain's armband in today's World Cup opener against Iran if FIFA follow through with a threat to book the captain.

Bullingham revealed that FIFA had indicated on the eve of the game that there could be "sporting sanctions" for wearing the 'OneLove', anti-discrimination armband, which has not been approved by the world governing body.

The FA were this morning still locked in talks with FIFA and the other participating European countries, with Bullingham suggesting they would rather "work out another way" to protest rather than accept Kane being booked pre-match.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4's Today Programme, Bullingham said: "It is a very live situation, there are discussions going on, we are working through these issues right now. It's true to say that FIFA did indicate yesterday that there could be sporting sanctions and that's obviously something we've got to work through. We've been clear that we want to wear the armband, it is important to us but equally we need to work through the discussions right now and see where we end up.

England and other European nations hope to wear the captain’s armband. (PA)
England and other European nations hope to wear the captain’s armband. (PA)

"We've had meetings this morning with FIFA and there are discussions carrying on.

"As I've said, we're very keen to wear the armband, we want to do it. But obviously we would need to consider the implications. Normally there would be a fine that we get paid and we would be happy to do that. Well, happy might be the wrong word but we'd be prepared to pay the fine because we think it's important to show our support for inclusion. If the sporting sanctions threat is real, we need to look at that, step back and work out if there's another way we can show our values."

At major tournaments, two yellow cards result in a one-match ban, so Kane would theoretically miss England’s final group game against Wales and a potential semi-final if FIFA punish wearing the armband with a pre-match booking.

The FA were among a number of European nations who wrote to FIFA in September to indicate they planned to wear the armband promoting inclusivity and LGBTQ+ rights for the rest of 2022, but the world governing body did not respond.

England Training Session for FIFA World Cup 2022 Qatar | 20th November 2022

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Denmark coach Kasper Hjulmand has said he would not ask captain Simon Kjaer to wear the armband if it meant starting the game on a booking, while Virgil van Dijk, the Netherlands skipper, has said he would have to rethink.

The FA had previously been adamant that captain Kane would wear the OneLove armband in Qatar even if it meant accepting a fine from FIFA, who have announced their own armband for the finals -- with a different slogan for each round.

France, who were originally among the nations supporting the OneLove campaign, have since withdrawn, with captain Hugo Lloris planning to wear FIFA’s armband at the finals.