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Harry Kane risked being pulled from World Cup matches if England stayed with the ‘OneLove’ armband in FIFA threat

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Arry Kane could have been barred from playing Iran or even put the game in jeopardy had England followed through on the plan for the captain to wear a rainbow-colored armband in their opening game of the World Cup, we learned.

The Football Association was among seven European federations to unplug the pro-inclusiveness armband ‘OneLove’ in Qatar after FIFA threatened players who wear it with ‘sporting sanctions’ – initially taken to mean a yellow card from forward -match.

However, FIFA have reportedly told the FAs of England, Wales, Belgium, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Germany and Denmark that any player wearing the armband will be punished with ‘at least’ one booking , and there were fears they could be forced out of games or even put the game itself at risk.

Wales chief executive Noel Mooney has said captain Gareth Bale risks a ‘yellow or red card’ if he wears the armband against the United States, while Gareth Southgate has confirmed the sporting sanctions threatened by FIFA were “unclear”.

The FA also believe that Kane wearing the armband would not have caused the referee to physically show him a yellow card on the pitch, which could have been a powerful statement, but the striker would have simply started the game on a booking.

In a joint statement, the seven federations described the threat of sanctions as “unprecedented”, acknowledging that players had been threatened with a yellow card or “forced to leave the field of play”.

The FA have instructed their legal team to look into how FIFA plan to implement their regulations and whether the rules are being properly enforced, while the German football federation have already confirmed they are exploring legal options.

Speaking ahead of England’s second game against the United States on Friday night, Southgate said: “I don’t know all the ins and outs because I wasn’t in the game. [between FIFA and the national federations] but there was definitely a feeling there were penalties and not all of them were really clear I think, so the decision was taken out of Harry’s hands.

“The organization’s decisions were that we didn’t even put the armband in the dressing room. There’s no discussion, it’s done. The player didn’t have a say. But what’s the point? looked exactly like, I don’t know because I wasn’t at the meeting. It’s not something I wanted to spend more time on.

Harry Kane posed in the armband ahead of the tournament

/ Getty Images

Germany responded to FIFA’s threats with a protest ahead of their opener against Japan on Wednesday, with the starting XI putting their hands over their mouths in the pre-match photo.

“To deny us the armband is to deny us a voice. We maintain our position,” said the German FA.

Southgate, meanwhile, acknowledged that nations were at risk of being distracted by off-field issues in Qatar.

“I noticed that the Danish coach [said] he felt he didn’t have enough bandwidth to deal with football,” he said. “I think that’s the risk we all run. I’m quite comfortable with our position and I think we should have confidence in what we stand for [and] what we think we can affect.

“There was a project [before Iran], we have not been able to realize this plan. What shall we do now? Are we all trying to outdo ourselves on a move that could actually be… how we do it, [it] probably won’t be enough. Perhaps it will be criticized.

“We want to support the LGBTQ+ community in particular and recognize that a lot of these people are not here with us, and we wanted them here with us. But we could also be rushing to do things that don’t land well and don’t really make a difference and take a lot of time and energy away from where we need to be right now.

England centre-half John Stones has revealed the team will discuss potential next steps at a squad meeting on the eve of the United game, but followed Southgate’s lead by issuing a warning. caution about the effectiveness of the protests.

When asked if they had any protests planned for the game at Al Bayt Stadium, Stones replied: “Not yet, no, but I’m sure when we meet tonight we’ll talk about that kind of thing. things. We don’t want to get carried away by what other people are doing.

“We want to stay true to our own values, but at the same time we want to be heard and aware of how we feel, we want to get everyone’s opinion across in the right way. I think it’s really hard right now to do that without upsetting people’s rules or whatever.

“There’s a very fine line with it all and so far we’ve been trying to stick to our values ​​and what we believe in as a team. Make sure we don’t get pushed around.


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