Discussions over whether Harry Kane will wear a ‘OneLove’ armband against Iran remain ongoing just hours before England’s World Cup campaign gets under way in Qatar.
FIFA has indicated England could face sporting sanctions should Kane wear the rainbow armband in a country where same-sex relationships are criminalised, the Football Association has said.
England face Iran in their first game in Group B on Monday afternoon and while the FA is prepared to accept a fine for wearing the armband, the threat of Kane being booked before the game gets under way could cause a rethink.
FA chief executive Mark Bullingham told BBC Radio 4 on Monday morning: “It is a very live situation and there are discussions that are carrying on. We are working through those issues right now.
“It is true to say that FIFA did indicate yesterday that there could be sporting sanctions and that’s something which 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 all of the discussions right now and see where we end up.
“We would need to consider the implications. Normally in this kind of situation there would be a fine that would be paid and we’ve always said we would be happy to do that – happy might be the wrong word, but we would be prepared to pay the fine because we think it is important to show our support for inclusion.
“If the sporting sanctions threat is real then we need have to look at that an we would need to step back and see if there is another way in which we could show our values.”
Kane is among the captains of nine European nations planning to wear the rainbow armbands, with Wales and the Netherlands the other teams among that number who are also in action on Monday.
England skipper Kane and manager Gareth Southgate had shown their support for wearing the armband on Sunday.
Kane said: “I think we’ve made it clear as a team and a staff and organisation that we want to wear the armband.
“I know the FA are talking to FIFA at the moment, and I’m sure by game-time they will have their decision. But, yeah, I think we’ve made it clear that we want to wear it.”
Asked for his opinion given the apparent threat of a yellow card, boss 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.”
As of Monday morning, FIFA had no update to offer when contacted.