Harry Kane was set to wear a OneLove armband at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar – however, the England captain has since made u-turn on that decision.
It was announced on Monday morning that Kane and Wales captain Gareth Bale won’t be donning the sleeve accessory, after threats of sanctions by FIFA.
A statement explained: ‘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.’
But what exactly is the OneLove armband, and what does it represent?
What is the OneLove armband?
The OneLove armband was designed to raise awareness about LGBTQ+ discrimination in Qatar, where same-sex relationships and the promotion of same-sex relationships are criminalised.
Qatari authorities have not given a specific guarantee that LGBTQ+ fans travelling to the country for the tournament will be safe.
The Qatar Supreme Committee, the body in charge of organising the World Cup, said: ‘Everyone will be welcome to Qatar in 2022, regardless of their race, background, religion, gender, sexual orientation or nationality.
‘We are a relatively conservative society – for example, public displays of affection are not a part of our culture.
‘We believe in mutual respect and so whilst everyone is welcome, what we expect in return is for everyone to respect our culture and traditions.’
Speaking about the decision to wear the OneLove armband before it was axed, Kane said: ‘I am honoured to join my fellow national team captains in supporting the important OneLove campaign.
‘As captains we may all be competing against each other on the pitch, but we stand together against all forms of discrimination.
‘This is even more relevant at a time when division is common in society. Wearing the armband together on behalf of our teams will send a clear message when the world is watching.’
Kane previously wore the armband during England’s Nations League fixtures in September.
As well as England and Wales’ captains, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark and Switzerland have also pulled out of wearing it in light of possible bookings by FIFA.
Their respective FAs were also involved in the joint statement, which concluded that they were collectively ‘very frustrated’ by the decision – which they also called ‘unprecedented’ – as they wanted to ‘actively support inclusion in football’.
It ended: ‘Our players and coaches are disappointed – they are strong supporters of inclusion and will show support in other ways.’
What is the OneLove campaign?
The OneLove campaign is an initiative created by the Dutch FA for the World Cup.
The English FA previously said the campaign would ‘send a message against discrimination of any kind as the eyes of the world fall on the global game’.
The FA are lobbying the local organising committee to ensure that fans from the LGBTQ+ community will be safe and welcome in the country during the tournament.
The armband features a colour-striped heart with a white ‘1’, all within a black outline. The design is set on a white backdrop with the words ‘One’ and ‘Love’ written either side in black.
You can order your own armband from the Royal Dutch Football Association website – however, it is currently out of stock.
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