, multiple European teams have walked back plans to wear rainbow armbands during the global soccer competition.The teams representing England, Wales, Germany, Denmark, Belgium, Switzerland, and the Netherlands announced that they would no longer wear the OneLove armbands for “diversity and inclusion” shortly before their campaigns were scheduled to start on Monday, per .
The gesture, small as it may seem, speaks volumes in Qatar, which has since it was chosen to host the back in 2010, due to its harsh criminalization of homosexuality and mass exploitation of migrant workers.
Although the teams said that they would be willing to accept a fine, FIFA told them just hours beforehand that any player wearing an armband would receive a yellow card, per .
If a player receives two yellow cards, they are sent off the field.A joint statement from the countries’ soccer associations provided to CNBC and other media outlets shared that the teams were “very frustrated” by the decision, which they called “unprecedented.”“We were prepared to pay fines that would normally apply to breaches of kit regulations and had a strong commitment to wearing the armband,” the statement said. “However, we cannot put our players in the situation where they might be booked or even forced to leave the field of play.” The teams, however, pledged to show their support in other ways. (Although it’s unclear what exactly that support may entail.)FIFA has also demanded that the Belgian team remove the word “love,” which is stitched on the collars of their away shirts, per .