England’s Harry Kane will wear ‘OneLove’ armband at World Cup

Harry Kane said he will wear a OneLove armband at kick-off despite threats of a fine and a yellow card as a battle between FIFA and various European football federations escalates.

Nine nations, including Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium, agreed in September to wear the armband as a symbol of diversity, inclusion and anti-discrimination amid concerns over the human rights record of World Cup hosts Qatar.

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Sources have told ESPN that the English FA, along with the other parties involved, have written to FIFA and UEFA to let them know of their intentions. Both organizations do not normally allow teams to make political statements, but UEFA has granted an exemption for wearing the armbands in its Nations League matches.

FIFA has not made its stance clear, only introducing its own armbands for all captains a day before the start of the World Cup to promote social awareness.

The nine nations were ready to accept a fine for the gesture, but there are now suggestions that every captain could be given a yellow card at kick-off in every game.

Faced with that possibility, Kane said: “I think we’ve made it clear as a team, as a staff and as an organization that we want to wear the armband. I know the FA are talking to FIFA at the moment and I’m sure that we’ll have the decision tomorrow at game time. I think we’ve made it clear that we want to wear it.”

England begin their Group C game against Iran on Monday, followed by games against the United States and Wales.

Asked for his opinion on the possibility of Kane being booked in such circumstances, England manager Gareth Southgate said: “I have nothing to add to what Harry said. I know some conversations are going on.

“I think some European countries have spoken up and we’ve made our position clear, so hopefully everything will be sorted out before the game.”

Although Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer confirmed on Saturday that he will wear the armband, England will become the first of nine nations to actually play a game at these finals.

Discussions between FIFA and the nations involved are continuing. ESPN contacted FIFA to clarify the situation, but a spokesman did not respond to a request for comment.

Meanwhile, Southgate confirmed England would take a knee before kick-off to continue a separate anti-discrimination gesture England used at the belated Euro 2020 finals last year.

The Premier League adopted the same gesture before every game ahead of this season when it was decided teams would only take a knee before games with the biggest crowds.

Internal talks between England’s players and staff took place at the team’s Al Wakrah training base on Sunday, with Southgate confirming they had decided to go ahead.

“We talked about squats, we think we should do that,” Southgate said. “That’s what we stand for as a team and have done for a long time.

“Obviously in the Premier League we understand that clubs have decided to only do this for certain games and big occasions. We think this is the biggest thing and we think it’s a powerful statement that will go out around the world for young people especially to see that inclusivity is very important.”

Southgate also ruled out James Maddison with a knee problem against Iran before adding the game which would come too soon for Kyle Walker to start as he recovers from groin surgery.

Later on Sunday, a group of 11 European football associations said they welcomed FIFA’s pledges to support migrant workers in Qatar and to set up a legacy fund from the proceeds of the 2022 World Cup for some of the world’s most vulnerable people.

UEFA’s working group on human and labor rights, made up of representatives from the football associations of Belgium, Denmark, England, Finland, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Sweden, Switzerland and Wales, said it had met with world football’s governing body on Sunday and “Can confirm that substantial progress has been made on key issues”.

FIFA has pledged its support for a permanent International Labor Organization (ILO) office in Doha to provide support and advice to migrant workers.

“This meets the call we made some time ago for a support center for migrant workers,” UEFA said in a statement. “In addition, we welcome FIFA’s commitment to work with the relevant authorities to ensure that all migrant workers receive financial compensation if they are not paid on time or are injured in an accident at work.”

The football associations said they had been informed that more than $350 million in compensation had been paid out to workers in Qatar since 2018, in cases mostly involving late and unpaid wages.

https://www.espn.com/soccer/england-eng/story/4807484/englands-harry-kane-will-wear-one-love-armband-at-world-cup England’s Harry Kane will wear ‘OneLove’ armband at World Cup

Emma Bowman

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