The controversial ‘OneLove’ armband saga has become a farce on the eve of England’s World Cup opener against Iran, when captain Harry Kane could be booked if he wears it.
The Football Association, which has confirmed England players will take the knee during the tournament, is determined that captain Kane will wear the armband as a sign of equality in a tournament that has been overshadowed by the negativity of Qatar’s record in matters of human rights. Homosexuality is prohibited in the host country.
However, FA chiefs were concerned on Sunday night that Kane could be shown a yellow card if he wears the armband as intended, as it would breach FIFA laws.
FA chiefs are concerned at the prospect of captain Harry Kane being shown a yellow card for wearing a OneLove armband at the World Cup
English football leaders are asking FIFA for clarification on the penalties that could be imposed if they go through with their decision.
FIFA has detailed laws regarding the clothing used by players during matches and Kane wearing the armband would not abide by their regulations.
The FA expected a fine for breaching FIFA statutes, but the prospect of Kane – arguably England’s most important player – being booked, and therefore facing a suspension, was a scenario that concerned the FA. governing body of English football.
Kane said: “We made it clear as a team, staff and organization that we wanted to wear the armband. I know the FA are talking to FIFA and by the time of the game they will have made their decision.
The FA expected a fine for breaching FIFA statutes by making the gesture of equality
Head coach Gareth Southgate added: “I know there are conversations going on. A number of European countries have spoken.
“We have clarified our position, so hopefully everything will be resolved before the game.”
England is one of nine countries to wear the “One Love” armband. Indeed, the news of a possible reservation has also reached the camp of Germany and Holland.
Dutch skipper Virgil van Dijk said ahead of his side’s game against Senegal: “Nothing has changed from our point of view.
Players who wear One Love armbands at Qatar World Cup could be booked before kick-off
“If I get a yellow card for wearing it, we’ll have to discuss it because I don’t like playing while on a yellow.”
Confusion overshadowed the start of England’s World Cup campaign here in Doha, as Southgate claimed his players had made “the impossible possible” as his side began their adventure on Monday.
After years in the international football doldrums, England head into Monday afternoon’s opener against Iran as the real contenders to lift the trophy at Lusail Stadium on December 18.
After finishing fourth at the 2018 World Cup, the national team continued their impressive performance in Russia by finishing second at last year’s European Championships.
As a result, the England coaching job – dubbed the impossible job in the mid-1990s – is now one of the most coveted jobs in world football.
Armbands may be considered to violate FIFA Equipment Rules as they are not official clothing
Indeed, Mauricio Pochettino admitted last week that he would be open to replacing Southgate, while Thomas Tuchel is also said to be interested.
And when asked about interest in his work, Southgate – who has the phrase ‘Anything is possible’ stitched into a special pair of World Cup coaches – replied: “Maybe we made the impossible just possible.”
“Maybe we made it possible and it’s exciting for other people and I can relate to that.” We want England to be competitive for years to come and I believe our academy system has understood that.
“We also have good players and we should be competitive for the next six or eight years with this group.”
Dutch skipper Virgil van Dijk also plans to wear the OneLove armband at the World Cup
Despite the relative success England have achieved under Southgate, the ultimate ambition remains to win the country’s first trophy since 1966.
Indeed, on the eve of England’s opener here in Doha, Southgate urged his side to replicate the sustained success of arch-rivals Germany.
The Germans have a rich history of success at major tournaments and Southgate said: “It’s hard to talk about form because there are always six weeks, two months between games in international football, so what is the form?
“What there is is the pedigree. We want to be a Germany, which when I looked at their Wikipedia page: four golds, four silvers, four bronzes, European Championships three golds, three silvers, three bronzes.
“Our page didn’t quite look like that, but we’d like it to look like that in 40 years and that should be our goal, to be constantly stimulating.”
Manuel Neuer planned to do the same but the DFB are said to have doubts given the potential consequences