OneLove armband: England v USA protest gesture not ruled out as Fifa clarifies stance on rainbow bucket hats and flags at World Cup
The Football Association of Wales (FAW) said the governing body has confirmed fans will be allowed to enter with the items for the clash with Iran after they confiscated them ahead of Wales’ 1-1 draw with the USA.
The FAW urged Fifa to stick to their message that “everybody will be welcome” in Qatar during the tournament after the first week was marred by its handling of LGBTQ+ symbols.
Wales players will not protest against Fifa’s ban on the One Love armband ahead of tomorrow’s World Cup meeting with Iran, with head coach Rob Page saying his players will be urged to focus on the football - and suggesting Germany might “in hindsight have the same message” after their surprise defeat to Japan.
Many are now keenly watching the players of England to see if they follow Germany’s lead and make a stand pre-match when they take on the US.
England boss Gareth Southgate has not ruled out his team making a gesture ahead of their game with the US to highlight human rights concerns, but said they will not be pressured into doing so.
Germany’s players covered their mouths during a team photo ahead of their 2-1 defeat against Japan to show “Fifa is silencing us” by shutting down attempts to wear rainbow-coloured armbands connected to the OneLove campaign.
The FAW said in a statement: “In response to the FAW, Fifa has confirmed that fans with Rainbow Wall bucket hats and rainbow flags will be allowed entry to the stadium for Cymru’s match against Iran on Friday.
“All World Cup venues have been contacted and instructed to follow the agreed rules & regulations.
“The FAW urges Fifa to adhere to their message that everybody will be welcome in Qatar during the World Cup and continue to highlight any further human rights issues.
“We remain with the belief that football is for everyone.”
Seven European nations competing at the World Cup – including Germany, England and Wales – planned to wear OneLove anti-discrimination armbands during the tournament, but were dissuaded from doing so following the threat of sporting sanctions from Fifa, with legal action now being considered.
Southgate said: “I think we’ve got to be comfortable that we know what we stand for.
“That’s not to say we won’t do anything moving forward if the timing’s right, but I think we are rushing to be seen to be doing something, we could make an error that doesn’t land well.”
A spokeswoman for anti-discrimination group Kick It Out said: “We would advise fans who are attending Fifa World Cup matches that certain attire, such as fancy-dress costumes representing knights or crusaders, may not be welcomed in Qatar and other Islamic countries.
“Foreign Office travel advice issued before the tournament expressed that fans should familiarise themselves with local customs, and we would encourage fans to take this approach.”