European teams abandon plan to wear armbands at World Cup

Sports

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — The captains of seven European nations will not wear anti-discrimination armbands in World Cup games after threats from FIFA to show yellow cards to the players.

“As national federations we can’t put our players in a position where they could face sporting sanctions, including bookings,” the seven soccer federations said Monday in a joint statement.

The climbdown after threats from FIFA came hours before England’s Harry Kane, the Netherlands’ Virgil van Dijk and Wales’ Gareth Bale were due to wear the One Love armbands in Monday’s games. The captains of Belgium, Switzerland, Germany and Denmark were also expected to wear the armbands in the coming days.

“Our number one priority at the World Cup is to win the games,” the Dutch soccer federation said in a separate statement. “Then you don’t want the captain to start the match with a yellow card.”

The One Love campaign was started in the Netherlands and its symbol is a heart-shaped multi-colored logo aimed at promoting inclusion and diversity in soccer and society.

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