The fall of seven teams following a threat from FIFA came just before some captains were expected to wear the armbands.
Seven European teams, including former champions Germany and England, have dropped plans for their captains to wear a rainbow armband in support of LGBTQ rights at World Cup soccer in Qatar, citing the threat of disciplinary action from FIFA.
“FIFA has made it very clear that it will impose sporting sanctions if our captains wear the armbands on the field of play,” the teams said in a joint statement on Monday.
Belgium, Denmark, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Wales are the other teams whose leaders planned to wear the armbands.
Under FIFA rules, players wearing equipment that is not authorized by soccer’s governing body could receive a yellow card. If those players receive a second yellow card, they would be sent off, weakening their team’s chances.
The “One Love” bracelet was designed as part of a campaign that began in the Netherlands to promote inclusion and diversity in football and society. Its symbol is a multicolored logo in the shape of a heart. But the decision by European teams to wear it during the World Cup has been widely seen as a protest against laws in the host nation, Qatar, where homosexuality is illegal.
“As national associations, we cannot put our players in a position where they may face sporting sanctions, including reservations, which is why we have asked captains not to attempt to wear the armbands in FIFA World Cup matches. ”, the federations said in the statement. .
The relegation came hours before England’s Harry Kane, Netherlands’ Virgil van Dijk and Wales’ Gareth Bale wore the armbands in Monday’s matches.