England captain, his counterpart in Belgium, Eden Hazard and six others may be handed suspensions if they go ahead to wear the OneLove rainbow armband in a mark of solidarity for the LGBT+ community.
On Tuesday afternoon, the Three Lions begin their World Cup campaign against Iran, a Middle East country where homosexuality is still illegal.
FIFA’s strict rules about apparel that can be worn by players indicate that the armband is not allowed under the code, but eight countries have insisted they will use the armband.
Unless FIFA backs down today, the English talismanic striker could face an immediate yellow card this afternoon if he walks out wearing the ‘OneLove’ armband as England take on Iran in their opening match. And if he wears it again in their second match, the skipper could be slapped with another yellow card, automatically banning him from the third game.
Other countries’ captains that may suffer the same fate the Netherlands, Denmark, France, Germany, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, and Wales
Last night there were crisis talks as the standoff continued, but England’s Football Association remained firm on taking a moral stand over wearing the rainbow armband, which is intended to signal respect for gay rights and equality in general.
The latest row comes after the competition got off to a tumultuous start on Sunday as it was officially opened by Morgan Freeman in a spectacular opening ceremony.
The start to the tournament dissolved into something of a farce on Sunday evening after a series of controversies in recent days, including a last minute alcohol ban, a largely empty stadium for the opening ceremony and thousands of people involved in a crush to enter FIFA fan zones.