After several countries approached FIFA asking if they can wear rainbow armbands in support o LGBTQ+ rights, the federation gave them no reply and instead started a last-minute campaign on Saturday saying that captains will wear different armbands with messages such as “Football unites the world”, “Share the meal”.

However, Harry Kane, the captain of the England men’s football team and his Wales counterpart Gareth Bale are set to go ahead with the Onelove rainbow armband in spite of FIFA’s discomfort. 

The English and Wales FA have supported the decision, even as the possibility of fines due to the gesture looms large on them.

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FIFA president Gianni Infantino was asked about why FIFA has not publicly supported the rainbow armbands at a press conference in Doha on Saturday. He did not provide a clear answer and said that they have to engage in ‘campaigns which are universal’. 

“We have clear regulations on armbands,” he said. “We have and engage in campaigns on different topics, campaigns which are universal. We need to find topics that everyone can adhere to. This is an important element for us.”

Earlier France captain Hugo Lloris had said that the French team will not be wearing the rainbow armband in Qatar saying that he has to “show respect” to the Qatari culture. 

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“When we are in France, when we welcome foreigners, we often want them to follow our rules, to respect our culture, and I will do the same when I go to Qatar, quite simply. I can agree or disagree with their ideas, but I have to show respect,” Lloris said.

Qatar is facing a lot of flak for human rights violations which include alleged punishment for people from the LGBTQ+ communities. Same-sex marriages are illegal in the country and even though FIFA has said that “everyone is welcome” to attend the tournament in Qatar, laws like holding hands in public being a criminal offense have diluted FIFA’s message.

There is no clarity as yet if those laws have been suspended in the wake of the World Cup.