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Live updates and highlights from the World Cup on Day 7

A “OneLove” armband is seen before a World Cup match in 2022. (Bruno Fahy/Belga Mag/AFP/Getty Images)

Football’s world governing body has found itself at odds with seven European nations over the threat of penalties for any player wearing a ‘OneLove’ armband during matches.

FIFA’s eleventh-hour announcement has driven a wedge between the governing body and the seven nations involved, although neither side has come out free from criticism.

The “OneLove” armband – which features the outline of a striped heart in different colors – was intended to be worn by captains of England, the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Switzerland and Wales at the World Cup to promote inclusion and show solidarity. with people of different genders and sexual identities.

But hours before England captain Harry Kane wore the armband against Iran on Monday, FIFA said any player wearing the armbands would receive a yellow card, putting them at risk of being sent off or banned from a future game. of the tournament.

FIFA regulations state that team captains must wear armbands provided by the governing body, although he said he “supports all legitimate causes, such as ‘OneLove'”.

The debacle rumbled as a sideshow to the tournament itself.

While players like Kane did not wear the armband, Belgian Foreign Minister Hadja Lahbib did when she spoke to FIFA President Gianni Infantino during the World Cup match between Belgium and Canada on Wednesday.

German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser also wore the armband as Infantino sat nearby during her country’s 2-1 loss to Japan.

In a joint statement, the seven European federations said they had asked their captains not to wear the “OneLove” armband because they could not “put players in a position where they could face sporting sanctions, including reservations”.

But some former players think that would have been a risk worth taking.

“That would have been a great statement,” former Republic of Ireland midfielder Roy Keane said, speaking as a pundit on ITV. “Do it for the first game, [and] if you get your yellow card, what a message that would have been.”

But others wondered what impact the move could have in Qatar, a country where sex between men is illegal and punishable by up to three years in prison.

“Conversations I’ve had with people in the LGBTQI+ community have already described this post as vague and lacking in a real statement about what it’s actually trying to achieve,” Australian midfielder Jackson Irvine said. to journalists.

A campaign group agrees.

“The ‘OneLove’ armband was nothing more than a token gesture,” Pride in Football representative Khya Gott told CNN Sport.

“He didn’t make the dramatic statements they wanted him to make. Player gestures are important and very necessary, but only if done correctly.

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