FIFA and FA chiefs insist they are confident of avoiding another armband controversy this summer

By Dan Bennett for The Mail On Sunday

18:39 04 Mar 2023, updated 18:39 04 Mar 2023

  • FIFA and FA officials are confident of avoiding another armband incident
  • A number of European nations planned to wear One Love bracelets in Qatar
  • But the plans were eventually scrapped after FIFA threatened sanctions
  • Gianni Infantino claimed FIFA is investigating ways for players to express values

FIFA and FA chiefs are confident of avoiding a similar situation to last year’s World Cup over wearing the One Love armband.

England were one of the nations planning to wear the armband at the World Cup to promote inclusion and messages of anti-discrimination, anti-racism, LGBTQ+ rights and human rights.

But after threats of “sporting sanctions” from FIFA, it was decided that captain Harry Kane would not wear the armband at the tournament for fear of repercussions.

“I think we all could learn a lot from Qatar. I’m not pointing fingers at anyone, I think we all had a lot to learn,” said FA CEO Mark Bullingham.

“And we’re determined not to have that into the summer.

FIFA and FA chiefs have insisted they are confident in ensuring armband controversies like those seen at the World Cup do not take place in the future
German players apparently protested after being threatened with sanctions over the One Love armband

“We’ve actually been talking about how to avoid this situation and how to get a position for a few weeks now.

“I think it’s important that the players have the opportunity to make their voices heard. How that comes true, I think there are a number of different ways of looking at it.

“We’ve started the conversation and we’ll see where we get.”

At the time, the FA said they were “very frustrated” by FIFA’s actions, which they also described as “unprecedented”.

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FA CEO Mark Bullingham said everyone “had a lot to learn” after the Qatar incident.

“We wrote to FIFA in September that we would like to wear the One Love armband to actively support inclusion in football and we have not received a response,” the statement added.

FIFA President Gianni Infantino, alongside Bullingham, said at an International Football Association Board (IFAB) meeting that FIFA is looking at ways to allow players to express a “position, value or feeling” and that a decision will be made beforehand the Women’s World Cup later that year.

“We didn’t talk about it specifically today because we have the rules of the game as they are,” he said.

FIFA President Gianni Infantino added that the organization is looking for ways to give players the opportunity to express their values

“What I can say about this particular topic is that we all went through a learning process there as well.

“What we are going to try to do better this time is to seek and seek dialogue with everyone involved – captains, federations, players, FIFA – from around the world to see what can be done to create a Expressing a position, a value, or a feeling that someone feels without hurting anyone else, and in a positive way.

“We are looking for dialogue and will find a solution long before the Women’s World Cup.”

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