England could withdraw from FIFA with Denmark over OneLove armband row
Chairman of the Danish FA, Jesper Moller, claims that discussions are underway regarding a blanket withdrawal of UEFA nations from FIFA due to how the governing body handled the OneLove campaign at the World Cup. England could yet be involved as Moller claims that talks are likely to be held with all 55 European FIFA members to see if anyone would be willing to take collective action.
Harry Kane was among the captains who planned to wear the rainbow-coloured OneLove armband in support of LGBTQ+ rights. Homosexuality is illegal in host nation Qatar and there have been reports of rainbow shirts and hats confiscated on entry into stadiums.
FIFA threatened an immediate yellow card, or worse, to captains who went ahead with the OneLove armband against their advice. The back-and-forth unfolded on the eve of England’s opening match against Iran, although the FA had sought answers regarding potential consequences long before that.
In a joint statement England, Denmark, Wales, Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands and Switzerland backed down from the armband campaign for fear of sporting repercussions. Many fans have still chosen to point the finger at FIFA, however, for threatening to punish those that went ahead with the protest.
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“[Leaving FIFA] is not a decision that has been made now. We have been clear about this for a long time. We have been discussing it in the Nordic region since August. I’ve thought it again. I imagine that there may be challenges if Denmark leaves on its own. But let us see if we cannot have a dialogue on things.
“I have to think about the question of how to restore confidence in FIFA. We must evaluate what has happened, and then we must create a strategy – also with our Nordic colleagues.”
Many, including Jamie Carragher, believed that England should have pressed ahead with wearing the OneLove armband due to the size of the statement it would have made.
Meanwhile, Danish FA chief Jakob Jensen has shed new light on the process that led to teams jointly backing out earlier this week. “On October 21, England asked for an emergency meeting with FIFA, who came to the English hotel,” he explained. “FIFA said it would at least give a yellow card.
“There has been discussion about whether there is a legal basis for giving a yellow card, but there is. The penalty could have been a yellow card, that the captain had not come on the pitch or that he was given a ban.”
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