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22nd Nov 2022

England ‘blackmailed’ into dropping gay pride armband by FIFA

Callum Boyle

Not a good look for FIFA

England, and the other nations who planned to wear the ‘One Love’ armband at the World Cup, were threatened with “extreme blackmail” of “massive sanctions” claim the German Football Association (DFB).

The federations of England, Wales, Belgium, Germany, Denmark, the Netherlands and Switzerland all revealed on Monday that FIFA had warned them that any players wearing the rainbow-coloured armband would be booked during their games.

Unwilling to take the card, all the nations backed down from the idea however the DFB’s media director Steffen Simon told German Deutschlandfunk radio that England had been threatened with multiple sporting sanctions to prevent them from showing their support for LGBT+ rights.

“The tournament director went to the English team and talked about multiple rule violations and threatened with massive sporting sanctions without specifying what these would be,” said Simon.

Same-sex relationships are illegal in Qatar and those who are found breaching those rules face up to seven years in prison.

Simon didn’t specify if it was local organisers or FIFA themselves when speaking about the tournament director, but stated that the other six nations went along with England’s decision to “show solidarity.”

He added: “We lost the armband and it is very painful but we are the same people as before with the same values. We are not impostors who claim they have values and then betray them.

“We were in an extreme situation, in an extreme blackmail and we thought we had to take that decision without wanting to do so.

“I can understand the disappointment. We had the choice between the plague and cholera.”

The DFB are now contemplating taking legal action against FIFA to end the ban which prevents teams from wearing the multi-coloured armband.

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