FIFA wants teams to wear the standard captain’s armband and could ban the use of rainbow armbands at the Women’s World Cup this summer.
England men’s captain Harry Kane was forced to ditch the ‘OneLove’ symbol, in support of gay rights, at the men’s World Cup in Qatar in winter 2022.
It was different in women’s football, with Lionesses skipper Leah Williamson proudly sporting the multi-coloured band as she led Sarina Wiegman’s side to European Championship victory at Wembley in July.
And FIFA, after UEFA allowed the gesture in that competition, have told teams they want them to use the usual symbol – and may now bar the use of the rainbow band at the 2023 tournament across July and August in Australia and New Zealand.
FIFA have said that no decision has been taken yet and that discussions continue with players and countries regarding the issue.
FIFA has banned the use of rainbow armbands (above) at the Women’s World Cup this summer
England captain Leah Williamson wore one as she led the Lionesses to Euros glory in 2022
FIFA, led by president Gianni Infantino, has now confirmed it will be forbidden this summer
As reported by German outlet Bild, football’s governing body informed the German FA (DFB) of their preference for the standard band on Wednesday, with Germany chief Maika Fischer saying: ‘FIFA has informed us that they want all participating nations to wear the FIFA captain’s armband with the FIFA campaign.’
The DFB-Frauen have seen captain Alexandra Popp, 31, wear the rainbow armband for years. Popp sported it during their run to the Euro 2022 final, where they lost against Williamson’s England.
The DFB asked about making an exception but FIFA, led by president Gianni Infantino, ‘immediately rejected it’, claim Bild.
If there is a ban, it is unclear what sanctions players may face if they defy it and wear the rainbow armband anyway. Germany’s women’s side will continue to wear the rainbow armband in their matches leading up to the World Cup.
A FIFA spokesperson said: ‘At a team workshop earlier today (Wednesday) FIFA was asked about equipment and competition regulations in relation to the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
‘FIFA wishes to reiterate that no decision has been taken in relation to armbands. FIFA remains committed to ongoing dialogue with players and member associations.’
The multi-coloured band (pictured) is a gesture in support of gay rights
National team boss Martina Voss-Tecklenburg concluded: ‘We always carry the rainbow armband in our hearts. We are in exchange with other nations to find common solutions on how certain messages can be transported.’
Die Mannschaft, the men’s side, had all covered their mouths in a pre-match photo before a match in Qatar in protest at FIFA’s ruling, with German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser wearing it as she sat next to Infantino during the game in Doha.