Harry Kane, Virgil van Dijk and Gareth Bale could have reportedly been slapped with one-game bans if they defied FIFA to wear the ‘OneLove’ armband.
A total of seven European skippers planned to wear the rainbow-coloured armbands at the World Cup to show their support for the LGBTQ+ community in Qatar.
Same-sex relationships are outlawed in the Gulf nation, with homosexuality even punishable by death.
But on the eve of the World Cup, FIFA announced a new anti-discrimination armband which will promote a key message during each round of the global community.
Countries were still keen to wear the ‘OneLove’ armbands, before a joint statement from England, Holland, Wales, Germany, Switzerland, Belgium and Denmark confirmed they will not be due to fear of being wrongfully punished.
It was said how sanctions the nations could face included the skippers receiving a yellow card before matches kicked off.
Kane, Van Dijk and Bale subsequently donned FIFA’s armband for their group stage matches on Monday.
And according to Sky Sports, they decided against wearing the ‘OneLove’ armbands as they were faced with the threat of a one-match ban as well as a yellow card.
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Tottenham striker Kane spoke of his sadness and anger that the Three Lions weren’t able to show their support on the pitch.
He said after their win over Iran: “We’re disappointed. We wanted to wear it, that decision was taken out of my hands.
“I turned up to the stadium with the armband that I wore and I was told I had to wear that.
“Look, it’s out of our control as players. I’m sure the FA and FIFA will continue those discussions but most importantly today we focused on the game and got a great result.
“You’ve seen over the last five years we’ve made a stand as a squad and we’ll continue to do that as much as we can.
“We took a knee today as well but sometimes these decisions aren’t up to us and that’s the bottom line.”
It was a view echoed by England boss Gareth Southgate, who said in his post-match press conference: “People know who we stand for, people know this group of players.
“We took a knee as we felt we could make a difference. There are other things where we can’t make a difference, so we have to channel our energy in other directions.
“Every coach has the right to focus on the football. There are other issues we want to speak about. For 12 months we have done that. But this is the World Cup.
“We won’t refuse to answer anything and there’s nothing I won’t speak about, but the predominant part of my energy has to be on preparing the team.
“Other people at our federation have to deal with our issues. It’s not the responsibility of the players, they didn’t decide where we are. That’s my feeling at the moment.”
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