Would FIFA really ban Kane, Messi and Ronaldo if they wore the ‘One Love’ armband?

I’m disappointed but not surprised to hear that it took the day of England and Wales first World Cup fixtures to be told their captains would be booked if they wore the ‘One Love’ Armband.

The FA first wrote to FIFA in September to get their point of view, and yet didn’t get a response till they arrived in Qatar.

Just like FIFA waited for tourists to arrive to tell them they wouldn’t be able to purchase alcohol inside stadiums, contradicting promises made in the last decade.

Very shady.

Forget months, all nations had since 2010 to plan how they would tackle a tournament being held in nation which contradicts their values.

As Jurgen Klopp pointed out it should never have been left to players, managers or pundits to make a political stance.

If they truly wanted too, governments and Royalty could have stepped in and led by example.

Seven European Associations were adamant their skippers would wear the ‘One Love Armband’ which promotes diversity and inclusion despite the threat of fines.

By having a Harry Kane publicly insist he would wear the armband, and then back down due to the consequence of a yellow card is depressing.

Again, I stress 7 players of 7 football teams shouldn’t be in this position, but members of UEFA had 12 years to decide what they were or were not comfortable with. When they originally put their action plan is place, surely, they knew a yellow card was an option?

It’s been a long-standing FIFA rule that teams should not make a political stance without their consent.

So, the seven associations (Including the FA) are not innocent here.

Up to the 11th hour they were defiant they would fly the flag for equality, only to hurriedly change that stance once it got to game day where the attention will be on the pitch.

The timing is not a coincidence.

I would have loved the 7 nations statement to be different. In an ideal world, 7 captains get sent off for wearing an armband which would have spread awareness and put spotlight on FIFA more than anything else.

It’s easy for me to tell any captain to wear the One Love Armband and get sent off.

That would be unfair to ask any player to sacrifice their own dream, when those in higher power in our country didn’t.

I do judge those 7 nations for then agreeing to wear FIFA’s own discrimination arm band, when they know you are wearing nothing more than a token gesture, something that means nothing.

Say it out loud.

FIFA claim the game is for everyone, yet host a World Cup where certain groups don’t feel safe travelling to.

They then threaten sanctions on anyone promoting diversity and inclusion, even though they insist Qatar welcomes everyone.

Then they ask the same associations they warned not to wear armbands to promote diversity to wear their own version just to tick a PR box.

How backwards.

I have always said zero tolerance means zero tolerance.

Wouldn’t it have been great if every captain wore the ‘One Love Armband’. Would FIFA really have a tournament where every skipper is sent off?

Would they really upset sponsors by banning Messi and Ronaldo?

If they did: What a message that would have sent to the world.

What a discussion that would have promoted.

I accept though that is an idealistic and a romantic notion from me.

The reality …. the cruel reality ….is Qatar 2022.


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  1. Nowhere does fifa rules say that players that take a political stance can receive a yellow card before a game as kicked off ,this was a post I saw on social media and have looked up myself ,unless shady FiFA have all of a sudden changed their rule book ,sanctions are for national teams to receive a fine and nothing else .
    I’m not a fan of politics,race gender or anything else that can be bought up these days to try and stop enjoyment in sports but bravado talk from our own country and others alike to just fold like little children when a little pressure is put on them is pathetic.
    This whole sham World Cup after only 2 days really shows the boys from the men ,and unfortunately our country lands in the former .
    Atleast Alex Scott (Im not her biggest fan )had guts to where the armband presenting .

  2. It’s a hot potato and a difficult subject to engage with and you made a really good effort.

    As soon as Russia and Qatar came out of the hat then it was obvious to me that fairness and transparency went out if the window.

    As for the about turns – is it surprising?

    The only good outcome today was England thrashing Iran and the players remaining silent for their national anthem. Amnesty reckon hundreds there have already lost their lives in recent times. Let’s hope that what I hold dear, which is freedom of speech, association and the right to be who I am is granted to those seeking the same

  3. Can we just enjoy the football and stop with this Qatar witch hunting?

    I thought we were past the western countries imposing their will, rules and morals to other cultures and society. But no still want to civilize the world as they did centuries ago.

    I am not defending Qatar but let me ask who says western ways is the right way. While the whole world is enjoying the football the usual suspects focus on the witch hunting.

    I have enjoyed all the games so far but today morning my Google feed was filled with every negative coverage of yesterday game in and outside the pitch from western media’s to one surprise.

    1. Homosexuality was a criminal offense in many western countries not in the far past but after changing the rules now everyone has to follow. Allan Turing anyone? Aren’t there killings of transexual people in Brazil? Funny I didn’t hear anyone defending them when the Cup was hosted there.

    2. Do western women really enjoy the same rights and power as men? Are they really safe than elsewhere? Aren’t crimes against women much higher in western countries?

    3. What is worse being denied a beer at the stadium in Qatar or risk of mass shooting in USA? It’s just a normal thing there.

    4. What about the drug cartel run country that is Mexico with the horror stories we hear about? Who is talking about them?

    The point of hosting the World Cup is a chance for all people in the World to experience it. It’s not an event for western people to be held according to their needs and wants.

    When the cup is hosted in Africa it’s a chance for African people on the surrounding countries to experience the event. When it is hosted in the middle east it’s a chance for their counties to experience the event. When it is hold in east Asia or South America it’s a chance for their people to experience the event too.

    It’s easier to save and travel to the neighboring countries to watch the games than travel to the whole another continent. Most westerners are high earners so they can travel all over the world with ease. It’s not such case for other countries.

    It’s the world cup not European and North American cup. Stop civilizing the world you already did that centuries ago. Focus on fixing what is on your plate which is not small at the moment.

    Let’s just enjoy the games and leave politics where it belongs. Can’t wait for Brazil to grace the pitch. Go Champions.

    1. Perfection does not exist and your rant against the west is what those living in a democracy hold dear. Freedom to speak bs for a start. It never ceases to amaze me that the USA and the UK to name just two countries in different continents, but there are plenty of others, have desperate souls going to enormous lengths to get in rather than get out

      1. I live in a democracy mam so I pretty know what it means. And I do not wish to live in the UK or USA even if I am invited. I am fine where I am. I get everything I want and enjoy from the UK and US or anywhere in the world here. The world is not exclusive anymore. The only reason I will visit UK is to watch at least one Arsenal game and then return home.

        If perfection does not exist then why the daily Qatar hunting? Or perfection does not exist for western countries only but required for the rest?

        Because USA and UK are at the forefront of teaching others morals. Their media are the worst full of double standards.

        Can you reply me about the points I mentioned above one by one?

        And what is the difference between Saudi Arabia, Qatar and UAE. They all follow same laws. But how can we be vocal against a one month event when our own stadium is called the Emirates for more than a decade? Aren’t Leah Williamson and Beth Mead promoting Fly Emirates every single game they play?

        Have we boycotted the Premier League because we have Man city and Newcastle owned by the Middle East? They are going to be here for a long period to come.

        Does your governments not have business dealings with the Middle East the fruits of which you enjoy?

        If someone want to be truthful and rightful they should not choose what to say according to their convenience. That is just plain day hypocrisy. And the lack of effort to hide it makes it way worse.

        1. As I wrote originally, it is a hot potato and there is no such thing as perfection. So in answer to your questions, HH, I cannot possibly write to you that the west is better but all I can do is repeat that I do enjoy a high level of personal freedom. For that I am truly fortunate. You live in a democracy so no doubt you feel the same.

          Throughout history, alliances have been formed for political reasons and for reasons of greed. I do not think this is likely to change, do you? All we can do is the best that we can to be decent to our fellow humans.

          I have no intention of responding to your points one by one, largely for the reasons I have stated above because it is impossible to hold the higher ground and at a personal level, I do not. What I do have, is what I have already stated, is the freedom to air my views.

          As for the treatment of Alan Turing as the example that you raised, is it not better to learn and reflect on past held views and re-consider through thought and a more developed understanding? The whole point is that we move forward and learn from the past.

        2. I think it’s just not clear from the West what this onslaught is based on. Surely you can’t talk about migrant workers now when stadiums have already been built or beer in stadiums in a foreign country. Why not comply? It their beliefs on sex or orientation don’t match yours why not accept that we are diverse? The West has been imposing it’s cultural dominance for centuries. Even colonisation and slave trade. Now they can coexist with people from another continent for one month. Racism is still the biggest ill. Feminist and Gay movements only benefit the elite in my view. Imagine Africa fighting for gay rights when there’s so much hunger and diseases. Our problems and priorities are different because of history, geography, culture etc. Noone should see their perspective and priorities as superior than those of others. Mind you, inclusivity or diversity you talk about is not a given even in those so called progressive democracies. White is still King. Black American……did l hear someone say White American

      2. “It never ceases to amaze me that the USA and the UK to name just two countries in different continents, but there are plenty of others, have desperate souls going to enormous lengths to get in rather than get out”

        A bit arrogant and disingenuous. They run out of their countries to the US and UK to begin with because their countries have been destroyed by…guess who??

        1. At least you are free to speak and to write
          There was nothing disingenuous about anything that I wrote at all as far as my personal opinion goes

    2. I’m with you’re whole post HH ,I asked some on here why support A club who ask you to visit Rwanda then get so high and might about Qatar.but I am interested what country you are from mate ,over the few years I’ve known you on here I still do not know youre background

    3. Part of your argument is irrelevant false equivalency – historical transgressions, as awful and shameful as they may be – have no bearing on whether or not protesting a present transgression is valid. The other part, however, is a circular argument. There will always be awful things happening in the world that merit the kind of attention Qatar’s (multiple) human rights abuses are getting. Should people have shone a more prominent light on the other issues you mentioned? Perhaps. Does that mean we shouldn’t highlight this one? I don’t see how. A final part of your argument concerning the ethnocentricity at play is postmodernism: nothing is fact because it’s all relative. As morality is concerned, all we have is what feels right…and I challenge anyone here to tell me that what is being highlighted goes against what we all feel is right.

        1. But the point you miss is we have freedom
          Who sponsors which club , who owns which clubs doesn’t impact on me
          It’s inclusive for all to go to
          The Emiraites wasnt built by labouring laws being broken
          The fact we have this conversation is freedom.

          1. YES DAN WE DO! And yourpost, hearteningly and in contrast with the views of HH, has full perspective too.

            We need to remember that plainly HH is very young and thus has not the life experience that I certainly have, aged 71.

            If someone tries to excuse cruelty by pointing out OTHER LESS HIGHLIGHTED CRUELTIES, FROM HISTORY, which despite what woke believes, cannot be altered.


    4. Lets use one example
      Can you show me where a world cup was hosted where alcohol was banned from stadiums

      The point your missing is not changing a culture is does that culture get in way from ability to host a world cup

      They said in 2010 it wouldn’t

    5. I rarely agree with you HH, but you make many good points in this instance.

      I’m not one who’s into bashing the West or the UK for “colonial” past actions, any more than I’d seek reparations from Scandinavia for the Vikings’ antics, the past is the past and the people currently living in any country didn’t do any of those things, their ancestors did and they acted according to the beliefs and morality of the times.

      I may see some validity in the questions many people raise over the award of the WC to Qatar in mid-season and 50C heat in the first place (although… it’s always mid-season somewhere).

      But when it comes to a football tournament, it’s about the football and my personal opinion is that many of the points HH makes regarding the hypocisy of imposing these woke values on other countries are valid.

      I’m not that interested in the WC for other reasons (I think the quality is poor, with few countries being able to field good players in each position) but to my mind bashing it due to political wokery is not the right reason.

      Would I be right in thinking that you live in Brasil HH?

      1. IDKWIC, I am as far from being a woke supporter as it is possible to be.

        I disagree with your statement that “it is wokeness that imposes on other countries” a refusal to tolerate hatred to our fellow humans, whose outward “packaging”(meaning skin colour, “status” in society, sexual orientation or other superficial PERCEIVED differences from we so called”NORMAL” folk)prevents decency and compassion in certain countries rulers behaviour. I take a polar view from you about what woke actually means, in practise!

        Woke means a lack of liberality in accepting others views and is the opposite of freedom, not its protector, as you seem to think. Woke is NOT tolerant but intolerant and is thus the reason I oppose it.
        However, I firmly endorse and support both your second and third paragraphs.
        I would add that in general I am not a particular fan of any international football , compared with watching Prem football. To me, it dwarfs any excitement found in international football. Essentially, in most games it is boring, slow paced and lacks the all important tribal aspect that our PREM games give us.

        I find all international friendlies boring and pointless, as they are not comps and even the WC lacks that fierce club rivalry that makes Prem football so compelling.
        It is by comparison , fishpaste compared with caviar!

        I also rarely, if ever, agree with HH and have, at odd times, asked him from where he comes but he has always declined to answer. I think him a good person but his views on life are almost always very far removed from my own. I am clear that, whatever his nationality, he is very young; far far younger than I am ! I am 71!

        1. Firstly, you misquoted my words and then turned the meaning into something else.

          The term “woke” originated in contemporary American slang, meaning “awakened” (to social issues).

          It was associated with various movements purporting to espouse “equality” when in reality they were only furthering the aims of “minorities”, some of which were not in the minority at all and many were in fact more than sufficiently equal. E.g. the BLM movement took over a defunct web site, then used it and turned it into something that it never was – for political purposes.

          Because of this, the meaning of “woke” has changed over time to be more of a pejorative term, flagging up a political agenda that’s only pretending to be about a helping hand for the downtrodden, in reality its aim is more sinister…

          Why do the Russians destroy works of art in Ukraine? Why do the Ukrainians build sandbag walls around their monuments when their lives are at risk?

          Because they understand that the best way to destroy a people’s will to stand up for their society is to destroy their cultural heritage – hence the Russian pretence that Ukrainians are really “Little Russians”, brethren etc – and the same applies to people who topple statues here or try to smear our history and achievements, or even flood us with “asylum seekers” – in a nutshell, they wish to destroy our cultural heritage, to undermine our cohesion as a country, pull apart the fabric of our society.

          That’s why we call it out as “woke”. It’s shorthand for all of that. Sadly, there are a number of what Stalin called “useful idiots” who actually believe it – you can often see groups of them (between 11 and 22 of them at a time) on a football field.

          When I was younger, I saw myself as economically conservative and socially liberal. Nowadays, things have moved so far to liberalise social issues – or to over-liberalise them – that I came to realise that in today’s world I am now socially conservative.

          Having issues with another culture’s perceived intolerance is one thing, trying to force it on them by wearing armbands etc is another thing altogether.

          Worse still is when people try to call it out here in the UK – I don’t see “inequality” any more except perhaps for the downtrodden pink male. For every so-called “positive discrimination” to give a job to a member of a so-called minority, there’s a gigantic negative one acting against the person who would have got that job – but for the intervention of someone’s idea of “fairness”. Give me meritocracy – i.e. equality of opportunity – over artificiality (aka “wokery”) any day.

  4. I don’t think FIFA will ban Messi and Ronaldo, if they wear armbands for something related to how gay male players are frowned upon in the field

  5. Saw that post Dan and I think you get the reply in the afterlife maybe.

    Actually I was sold before on the wrongdoings of Qatar on immigrant workers if the reports are true but the excessive ongoing criticism smell a lot of agenda.

    I just want to enjoy my favourite tournament but it seems I can’t without avoiding internet and TV for a whole month.

    And SueP just a quick Google search will show you the sufferings and deaths imposed by Mexican cartels to poor souls without fault of their own. I am looking forward to the voice of democracy defending them and boycott the next world cup from now after finishing with Qatar to 2026.

    I will send you through Admn Pat DK.

    1. I have a Mexican daughter in law of more than 10 years standing so I have a pretty good idea of what is going on over there thanks.

      1. Sue P
        power to you for speaking out.
        Shame on you HH and whilst everyone is entitled to their own views and opinions, but yours i am afraid to say, proves we still have people in the world that live in the dark ages.
        The more people who make a stance and voice their opinions on appalling matters such as these then the quicker we can root out narrow minded people.
        when will we all accept as human beings that we are one no matter, race, creed, colour religion ect. we all bleed the same.
        i was told once that we have approx. 80 summers to enjoy life and we should leave the world in a better place. turning a blind eye to matters such as these doesn’t help.
        DK, i agree with you on the subject of Rwanda but awareness, helping people make the change for the better can only be good in the long run
        this is not a site to air one’s political views but when people are being discriminated against then i am all for it

  6. Poor HH. Upset because the world’s realities are upsetting his enjoyment of his favourite tournament due to Western media’s so called anti Sheik agenda. I think you are kidding yourself but I think your beloved Brazil will have a good World Cup although my support will be for either France or Argentina.

  7. As soon as Qatar was mentioned we should have known no alcohol and no LBGTQ
    That’s what you expect from the middle east
    People had a lot of time to complain and nothing was done
    We are here in Qatar so enjoy the World Cup with the middle eastern culture or don’t go to Qatar….simple

    1. When qatar was awarded the rights to host the world cup, LGBTQ were not accepted in the west either.. The hypocrisy and double standards are unreal with some people mate.

    2. YOU OMITTED OUR PERFECT RIGHT NOT TO WATCH IT AT ALL, EVEN ON TV. I will be shunning all games and will only join in debates about the undoubted corrupt awarding of it, by corrupt FIFA to corrupt Qatar!

    1. Actually you are correct. We should not have mentioned Messi or Ronaldo. The 7 teams involved were England, Wales, Belgium, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Germany and Denmark.
      Apologies for the error…

  8. The world is a complex place – or as Oscar Wilde put it “To the intelligent, the world is a confusing place”, which was an eloquent way of saying that intelligent people don’t understand why the world is so chaotic, why it’s not more ordered and sensible. So…

    1. FIFA rules are the same as other sports – no political statements are permitted. So the armband was illegal.

    2. The punishment is not defined, it depends on circumstances (Law 4 Section 5 applies – see ** below).

    Whatever my personal views on the Qatar WC and this LGB stuff may be, the rules are quite clear. It really could be applied to political “statements” of any kind, including kneeling before kickoff.

    Law 4 Section 5.

    Slogans, statements, images and advertising equipment must not have any political, religious or personal slogans, statements or images. Players must not reveal undergarments that show political, religious, personal slogans, statements or images, or advertising other than the manufacturer’s logo. For any offence the player and/or the team will be sanctioned by the competition organiser, national football association or by FIFA.

    1. The first paragraph above may look a bit out of context with the rest, which is a simple statement of the rules.

      When I wrote it, I was intending to state the rules and then go on to discuss the complex politics, ethics etc that muddy the waters.

      I then thought better of it and stopped after pointing out that the rules are clear enough.

    2. IDKWIC to me it is important to use words correctly. Therefore, I take issue with you calling FIFA’s own rules as “LAWS” and their incorrect assertion that we have laws, not rules, in football.

      Their use of “laws” which you echo, is incorrect. LAWS can only be enacted by Parliaments or rulers of countries and FIFA is NOT a law maker it and nor does it have a remit to make laws!
      It does have a remit to make rules, however.

      I never refer to “laws” in the game, as that word is wrongly used. FIFA does indeed try to act and attempts to fool football people into thinking is has power as a lawmaker but plainly it does NOT.

      And we football folk would do well to remember that and not to buy into FIFA’s conceit and attempt to have ultimate power.

      It does NOT have that power, (even though it thinks it does). Thank God!

      1. They are simply The Laws of the Game as defined by FIFA.

        I’ll post a link below, which Pat may ok in time.

        You most certainly can have laws in a game – many games do, it’s not just football. Bridge has laws enacted by the world body (which can exist alongside “regulations” defined by nation organisations).

        But… the argument over such things is not useful in this context. How is this helping in the context of the discussion?

  9. If it meant nothing then wouldn’t be a need to wear one? There wouldn’t be a need to write this long article.The truth is that armband goes against everything that Muslims stand for,why are we surprised?

    1. Hmmm well, although I dislike the wokery that goes with the modern politicisation of these issues, I do believe in equality (of opportunity and freedom, not equality of outcomes).

      It shouldn’t be about what *Muslims* stand for – the WC was awarded to a country, not to a religion. If that country happens to be run as a theocracy which will impose its religious beliefs on spectators and players, then perhaps that’s a good reason not to award the WC to such places.

  10. Semantics and perceptions aside, what is the debate here? Anyone who selected Qatar should have known about its human rights record in the first instance. There were other competitors to host the world cup including England but FIFA went with Qatar purpotedly to demonstrate equity. Did FIFA imagine that all of a sudden Qatar would change its human rights approach? That was wishful thinking! There have been allegations that FIFA officials were influenced (read bribed) to act in favour of Qatar. I have no proof of this but what is obviou is that the Qatar world cup has been a unique one, not least because it has been held in Winter.
    As to whether or not LGBQT issues qualify to be regarded as human rights, I will reserve my comment because it is immaterial here. Suffice it to say that there are many issues which have been elevated to human rights ones even though critically they may not pass the test of what human rights are all about. Since this is an Arsenal platform I will go no further than that.

    1. Your last paragraph is important. I alluded to the same point in a different way – the over-liberalisation of society.

      There’s a basic fact at play that most people seem to miss – there’s no common definition of rights worldwide, “rights” are only what you can enforce via the law of the land you’re in (or possibly by other means).

      Human rights are only one example. Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) will vary from country to country and firms often have to go to court to enforce their right (to prevent others from using their IPR). It works well in countries that have independent judiciary, such as the UK or US, but good luck enforcing them in, say, China.

      Also worth noting that although we have a right in the UK not to be murdered or mugged, these things happen every day. So even here, these rights are not guarantees, they are only deterrents to those who would abuse or ignore our rights – once you’ve been mugged that bell cannot be unrung, its already happened, so all that can happen next is that the perpetrator is punished for their actions.

    2. “Since this is an Arsenal platform I will go no further than that”

      Well, the article raised the issue, not the peopel responding, so if people don;t want to enter into a discussion on the subject they are free to ignore the article and its comments completely – it’s not as if anyone hijacked a thread about Thierry Henry or something.

      This is actually a good place to discuss these things. Lots of posts that stand here would be deleted by the over-zealous moderators (and auto-moderation software) on other platforms in our molly-coddled little world. It’s one of the reasons I post here – you can actually discuss the issues, which is what free speech is supposed to be.

        1. Imho there’s a fair bit of personal abuse that’s allowed to stand around these parts, but worth it for the upside.

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