The England national football team was threatened with “unlimited” sanctions if players wore the OneLove bracelets just two hours before taking the field for their first World Cup match, the FA chief has revealed.
FA CEO Mark Bullingham said FIFA officials arrived at the England squad’s hotel to explain that anyone wearing the anti-discrimination armband would be shown a yellow card or a face ban from playing in matches. to play.
It is unclear whether England could face a point deduction due to the threat of extensive disciplinary action.
In an interview with ITV Sports on Friday, Mr Bullingham insisted the FA had made it clear since September that England intended to wear the OneLove armbands, and had been in talks with FIFA over the matter ever since.
He said England was prepared to pay a fine over FIFA’s ban on political slogans on the kits, and described his decision to threaten further punishment as “completely unprecedented” and attacked the football board’s “very last” decision.
“There have been kit infringements in the past – we did that with poppies and we agreed that we would wear the poppies and pay the fine, and we felt this was a very similar situation and in the same way.
“All our rules experts thought the same thing. The way they acted was completely unprecedented.”
It comes after the captains of seven European teams pledged to wear bracelets for the OneLove campaign. Homosexuality is illegal in Qatar.
“Obviously we felt in a completely dangerous position – it was a terrible position – we wanted to wear this bracelet. We were then suddenly faced with a scenario where our players might not be able to play a role in the tournament and we felt we could.”Don’t put them in that position,” Mr Bullingham told the broadcaster.
“We had very little time to make the decision and that’s where we had to go.”
Mr Bullingham later stated that there should be a “basic level of human rights” as part of all bidding criteria to host the tournament.
He added: “That’s definitely part of the discussion that needs to be had, and that needs to be happening at the time when countries are bidding for the World Cup, not a discussion that’s happening in the run-up to it.”