Jack Grealish slams FIFA’s ‘STUPID’ decision to threaten countries to drop support for OneLove armband… as England star says players ‘felt strongly’ about it but it was ‘out of their control’ control”
Jack Grealish has denounced FIFA’s decision to threaten countries to drop their support for the OneLove armband.
England captain Harry Kane – along with six other European skippers – planned to wear the armbands promoting inclusivity and LGBTQ+ rights in Qatar, a country that criminalizes same-sex relationships.
But the seven countries backed down once FIFA threatened to book players who wore it.
Grealish came off the bench to score England’s final goal in their 6-2 draw against Iran in their 2022 World Cup opener on Monday.
After the match, Grealish said he thought it was “stupid” why they couldn’t wear the armband.
He told ITV Sport: “Obviously we wanted to wear it.” I think it’s kind of stupid why we couldn’t. Harry himself wanted to wear it, we all wanted Harry to wear it, but sometimes in life and in football things are out of your control and there’s not much you can do about it.
Jack Grealish has slammed FIFA’s ‘stupid’ decision to threaten teams to drop support for wearing the OneLove armband throughout the 2022 World Cup in Qatar
Seven skippers from European nations involved in the World Cup had pledged to wear the armband in Qatar before FIFA announced players could be punished for wearing it.
“I’ll be honest with you, I actually didn’t attend any meetings or anything about it. But from my perspective and everyone in there, we all wanted Harry to wear it but I read before that it might be booked so there are things out of your control.
“But from me and all the guys, we wanted Harry to wear it. We feel it strongly, we are with them [LGBT+ fans], we wish they were here with us. All I can say is we wanted to wear it, we feel the same as them.
The FA could not risk Kane being booked as it would have put him at risk of being suspended for later stages of the tournament.
Asked after the game, the Tottenham striker also insisted he was disappointed with the decision.
He said: ‘Yes, I think we are disappointed. I showed up at the stadium with the armband I was wearing and was told I had to wear it.
“Look, it’s out of our control as players. I’m sure the FA and FIFA will continue these discussions, but most importantly today we focused on the game and got a great result.
Harry Kane has revealed he wasn’t involved in the decision not to wear a ‘One Love’ armband
Kane instead donned a ‘No Discrimination’ armband in England’s win over Iran
Eventually, he wore one of FIFA’s “indiscriminate” armbands. It is understood that the Tottenham captain understood and accepted the FA’s position.
The decision not to wear the OneLove armband has been criticized by experts, however.
Roy Keane has told ITV Sport that England and Wales made a “big mistake” and Kane and Gareth Bale should have been given the yellow card in the tournament opener.
Gary Neville has meanwhile suggested that England boss Gareth Southgate and his coaching staff wear the armband, with a different person wearing it every game.
Roy Keane is among a number of pundits to criticize teams for not wearing the armband
The pundit tweeted: ‘Gareth’s first game, Steve Holland’s second game, goalkeeping coach’s third game, Physio’s fourth game. Etc.’
The FA issued a statement on the situation, saying: “FIFA has been very clear that they will impose sporting sanctions if our captains wear the armbands on the pitch.
“As national federations we cannot put our players in a position where they could face sporting sanctions, including bookings, so we have asked captains not to attempt to wear the armbands during matches. the FIFA World Cup.
“We were prepared to pay the fines that would normally apply to breaches of kit regulations and we were firmly committed to wearing the armband.
Jack Grealish scored England’s last goal in their thrilling 6-2 win over Iran on Monday
“However, we cannot put our players in a situation where they could be warned or even forced to leave the field of play.
“We are very frustrated with FIFA’s decision which is unprecedented – we wrote to FIFA in September to inform them of our wish to wear the OneLove armbands to actively support inclusion in football, and we do not got no response.”
“Our players and coaches are disappointed – they are strong believers in inclusion and will show their support in other ways.”
What is the OneLove armband?
Nine countries, including England and Wales, had planned to wear the OneLove armband for this year’s tournament.
The armband has its roots in the Netherlands and is designed to promote diversity and inclusion in football.
In 2021, Georginio Wijnaldum wore the armband in a European Championship game in Hungary with the consent of UEFA, European football’s governing body.
It is a white armband with a heart engraved on it, accompanied by the words “One” and “Love”.
The armband was designed to uphold the rights of the LGBT+ community, among other marginalized groups within football, and to support equality for all.
Although it contains a central message related to the LGBT+ community, it is much more than that and represents a call to respect the human rights of everyone, regardless of age, race, sexual or gender identity. , nationality or disability.