FIFA tipped to make U-turn for Women’s World Cup after men’s stars threatened

Scott backs Bright to captain Lionesses at Women's World Cup

FIFA has been tipped to U-turn on its stance over the One Love captain’s armband ahead of the Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand. The governing body banned captains from seven European nations, including England’s Harry Kane, from wearing the pro-LGBTQ+ armband in Qatar just six months ago.

It was announced earlier this year that the Lionesses planned to wear the accessory when they play at the World Cup. Captain Leah Williamson, who has since been ruled out of the tournament through injury, pledged to wear the armband, which pledges support to the LGBTQ+ community. 

Football Australia chief executive James Johnson revealed that talks are ongoing with FIFA over whether the armband will be allowed. However, he insists he is ‘confident’ with the course those discussions are taking. 

“It’s not at the end point, we’re in the middle of that process. I know that FIFA will be talking to the players as well ahead of the World Cup so that we can land in a place where players, within the regulations, can express themselves on certain issues,” Johnson told the Daily Mail. 

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“We’re pretty confident in the direction this is going. FIFA talked about the lessons they had in Qatar, they are engaged with us on this issue as hosts. We’d like to see some exceptions within the competition’s regulations that players can express themselves over issues they feel are important

“It’s important for us as the competition hosts, because that reflects who we are as a country – where people can express themselves and can use platforms to make points about certain issues. It is important the hosts and FIFA, the other participating member associations like the FA and ultimately the players, have those discussions.”

Tottenham striker Kane was one of seven European captains who were banned from wearing the One Love armband at the Qatar World Cup. Kane was warned he faced being booked for wearing an accessory that had not been permitted, instead being told to wear a FIFA-sanction armband. 

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“Yeah, I think we’re disappointed. I said we wanted to wear it. That decision was taken out of my hands,” Kane said in November after the decision was made. 

“I turned up to the stadium with the armband that I wore and I was told I had to wear that. Look, it’s out of our control as players. I’m sure the FA and FIFA will continue those discussions but most importantly today we focused on the game and got a great result.

“You’ve seen over the last five years we’ve made a stand as a squad and we’ll continue to do that as much as we can. We took the knee as well but sometimes these decisions aren’t up to us and that’s the bottom line. As a squad, our focus was on the game today and I think we showed we’re a really good team and have full focus on what we need to do.”

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