OneLove armbands: Legal action being considered against FIFA after threat of sporting sanctions during Qatar 2022

Conversations between heads of European football associations are ongoing with potential legal avenues being explored over the OneLove armband ban at the World Cup in Qatar.

Captains of England, Wales and a host of other European nations were set to wear the armbands during Qatar 2022, but did not wear the anti-discrimination armband in their World Cup matches after FIFA threatened them with sporting sanctions.

FIFA launched its own armband initiative in partnership with three United Nations agencies just before the World Cup but did not include the OneLove armband, which is part of a year-long campaign which began in September but was set to be especially significant in Qatar, where same-sex relationships are criminalised.

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Danish football federation chief executive Jakob Jensen has now confirmed that the group of nations who sought to wear the OneLove armband are co-ordinating their discussions on legal next steps after FIFA forced them to drop their plans, with Germany protesting the move in their team photo by covering mouth.

Danish FA chief executive Jakob Jensen said the group were now exploring the legal options open to them

Jensen says the group of seven European associations are looking at which legal avenues are open to them after it became clear they faced sporting sanctions from FIFA if the rainbow-coloured bands were worn.

However, he ruled out going to the Court of Arbitration for Sport at this stage.

He said in a television interview: “Now we’re looking into what are the legal options, we are co-ordinating our discussions on that as well, but at this point it is not possible to go to CAS.

On Wednesday during the World Cup match against Japan, Germany’s players covered their mouths for a World Cup team photograph on Wednesday in protest at being blocked from wearing an anti-discrimination armband.

The German football federation, the DFB, said in a tweet on its official account: “We wanted to use our captain’s armband to take a stand for values that we hold in the Germany national team: diversity and mutual respect. Together with other nations, we wanted our voice to be heard.

“It wasn’t about making a political statement – human rights are non-negotiable. That should be taken for granted, but it still isn’t the case. That’s why this message is so important to us. Denying us the armband is the same as denying us a voice. We stand by our position.”

A statement from the European nations involved at the time said in a statement: ““FIFA has been very clear that it will impose sporting sanctions if our captains wear the armbands on the field of play,” the statement began.

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“As national federations, we can’t put our players in a position where they could face sporting sanctions including bookings, so we have asked the captains not to attempt to wear the armbands in FIFA World Cup games.”

Article 11 of FIFA’s disciplinary code, which covers ‘offensive behaviour and violations of the principles of fair play’ says that anyone “using a sports event for demonstrations of a non-sporting nature” may be subject to disciplinary measures.

Earlier in the week, Danish FA chairman Peter Moller said his organisation, who were part of the OneLove group, was considering leaving FIFA altogether, and had been since August.

On Monday, ex-England international Alex Scott wore the OneLove armband inside the Khalifa International Stadium in Qatar when presenting for the BBC.