FIFA has launched a new captain’s armband on the eve of the World Cup, with a group of nations including England and Wales already intending to wear their own anti-discrimination version.
Captains of nine European nations, including England’s Harry Kane and Wales’ Gareth Bale, will wear the OneLove armbands in Qatar, a country which criminalises same-sex relationships.
A release from FIFA issued on Saturday morning confirmed it was partnering with the United Nations agencies to run social campaigns throughout the tournament, with a different campaign for each round.
The quarter-final theme will be ‘no discrimination’.
The Football Association and other members of the working group who are committed to wearing the OneLove banner were already due to meet on Saturday, and it is understood the group will seek clarity on this latest move from FIFA.
The FA has not received any response from FIFA to its request last month for permission to wear the OneLove armband, but its chief executive Mark Bullingham has since said England are prepared to be fined for wearing it.
‘They haven’t given us any response to our letter,’ Bullingham said.
‘I think there’s a possibility that we might be fined. And if we are, then we’ll pay the fine.
‘We think it’s really important to show our values. And that’s what we’ll be doing.
‘It’s sad for us that quite a few of our LGBTQ fans have decided not to come and I know a lot of our Three Lions Pride members are not coming.
‘And that was frustrating because they didn’t get the information they wanted in time to make their arrangements.’
The campaigns running through the tournament will be FootbalUnitesTheWorld during the first round of matches, SaveThePlanet during the second, and to wrap up the group-stages it will be ProtectChildren ShareTheMeal.
The last-16 will be EducationForAll and FootballForSchools while the quarter-finals will be NoDiscrimination.
The semi-finals will be promoting BeActive and BringTheMoves while the World Cup final will be Football Is Joy, Passion, Hope, Love and Peace – #FootballUnitesTheWorld.
The FA originally announced that Three Lions captain Kane would wear the ‘One Love’ captain’s armband back in September.
The OneLove armbands will be used to promote diversity, inclusion and anti-discrimination, in Qatar – where same-sex relationships and the promotion of same-sex relationships are criminalised.