The start of the England vs USA match on Friday went off without protest as the Three Lions chose not to make any kind of stand against FIFA banning the OneLove armband at the World Cup.
England, along with six other European nations had planned to wear the OneLove armband in Qatar, as a sign of inclusivity and anti-discimination.
However, shortly before their opening game against Iran on Monday it was made clear to them that sporting sanctions would be imposed if they did, namely a yellow card for captain Harry Kane, but possibly more.
England and the other nations – Wales, Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, Switzerland and Denmark – all chose to fall into line and not wear the strap as a result.
Kane wore the official FIFA armband, which had a message of ‘No Discrimination’ on it, but did not sport the rainbow colours of the OneLove band.
Germany began their campaign against Japan on Wednesday and also did not wear the OneLove straps, but did pose for their team photo with their hands covering their mouths, suggesting they had been silenced by FIFA.
England chose not to make such a stand and have continued their World Cup campaign with the official FIFA captain’s armband with no visible protest against the decision on the OneLove strap.
FA Chief Executive Mark Bullingham explained to ITV Sport what happened ahead of the Iran game on Monday when FIFA officials made threats over the armband.
‘It’s very important to understand what happened here,’ he said. ‘We have been clear that we wanted to wear it and we were committed. We announced that we would do that in September we had a lot of meetings with FIFA over that period and on Saturday before the game we felt we’d reached an understanding where we would wear it. We hadn’t got permission but we would face a fine for it.
‘Unfortunately then on the day of the game they gave us ten minutes notice – two hours before we were due to go to the game… they came here with five officials and they ran us through a scenario where at a minimum anyone wearing the armband would be booked and face disciplinary action on top of that.
‘It was unlimited. They would take disciplinary action against any player that was wearing the armband on top of having a yellow card.’
There was, however, a declaration of support for the LGBTQ+ community and a show of solidarity back home as the Wembley Arch was lit up in rainbow colours.
We’re with you â¤ï¸ pic.twitter.com/SoqNDakeBM
Alongside an image of Wembley, the England team’s official account tweeted: ‘We’re with you.’
A statement from the FA included: ‘Attempting to eradicate discrimination of any kind, including homophobia, from football is something which everyone at The FA believes in strongly and have looked to support for a number of years.
‘This is why we were all so disappointed by FIFA’s unprecedented ruling on Monday around the OneLove armband.
‘The FA will continue to show our support to the LGBTQ+ community and all other communities during this tournament and long beyond, starting with lighting up the Wembley Stadium arch in rainbow colours for Friday night’s match with the USA.’
Players also took the knee before kick-off, as they did before the Iran game.
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