Denmark made an incredible stand against football’s governing body, while Germany made a strong gesture before being stunned by Japan in Qatar.
Germany has made a strong statement about keeping its mouth shut ahead of its World Cup opener, with outspoken Socceroo Jackson Irvine expressing his sympathy for the seven European nations embroiled in controversy.
But Jackson says that from their discussions, the LBGTQI+ community feels that the One Love armband lacks “a real statement of what it’s trying to achieve.”
During their first fortnight in Doha, Australia firmly addressed questions about their statement videos released last month highlighting Qatar’s questionable human rights record – insisting they were focused solely on football.
Irvine tore off that Band-Aid after Australia’s 4-1 first-leg loss to France on Wednesday as controversy over FIFA’s decision to ban players from wearing the all-encompassing rainbow armband marred the World Cup.
It’s a move that has sparked widespread anger from some World Cup nations, including Australia’s Group D rivals Denmark, who threatened to pull out of FIFA on Wednesday.
As Irvine spoke, Germany turned out for the match against Japan – captain Manuel Neuer wearing a FIFA-approved “no discrimination” armband, but the Germans kept their mouths shut after posing for the team before the game. .
“Human rights are non-negotiable,” the German federation said in a statement.
“It should be taken for granted, but it still isn’t. That’s why this message is so important to us.
“Denying us an armband is like denying us a voice. We are on our position.”
Irvine reiterated his pride in the Socceroos’ stance and expressed disappointment at the confusion surrounding messaging from the game’s governing body, which has angered rival nations.
“I can’t speak for other countries and the decisions they make,” Irvine said.
“What they feel is the right way to protest against any kind of social injustice.
“The One Love armband is an interesting discussion in itself because the conversations I’ve had with people from the LGBTQI+ community have already illustrated that the messaging is vague and lacks a real statement of what it’s trying to achieve.
“It’s a difficult thing to research, obviously it changes from day to day. Changes through regulation, then changes through decisions made by teams and players.
“It’s hard for those players and teams to react when things change so quickly.
“But when it’s all said and done, it’s going to be time to really examine how those messages go and the way they choose to do it.”
Australia has become the first World Cup nation to issue a statement on Qatar’s human rights record, same-sex relationships and treatment of migrant workers.
“All I can do is speak from our point of view and clearly say how proud I am of our team and how we got to this tournament,” Irvine said.
“This change was not likely to be thrown at us at a late stage. From our perspective, that’s why we chose to do it and the time we did it.”
Irvine was criticized for Australia’s own human rights record and treatment of its indigenous people – a point raised by rival AFC nations in response to the players’ statement.
“Hopefully it’s something we continue to talk about as a team. In the past, I have commented on the problems at home as well as the issues we discussed here.”
“As players and as part of this tournament, we’re very connected to these issues at the moment, so we felt it was (important).
“People talk about the hypocrisy of these issues, but they don’t talk about what’s happening at home.
“I hope this is something we continue to explore in the future as part of our growth as a team and as individuals. It’s something to watch moving forward.”
5.12: DENMARK CLARIFIES THE SUBJECT OF WITHDRAWAL FROM FIFA
Denmark has moved to clarify reports that it may withdraw from FIFA.
Before that, there were reports that Denmark was planning negotiations with UEFA members regarding the possibility of leaving FIFA.
They were one of seven countries, including England and Wales, planning to wear One Love armbands before backing down from the threat of a yellow card.
But on Thursday morning it emerged that Denmark’s complaints were with FIFA president Gianni Infantino.
“Some media have misunderstood that DBU will withdraw from FIFA,” DBU head of communications Jakob Hoejer told Reuters in a WhatsApp message.
“That was not the case at the press conference. We are critical and disagree and we will not vote for the current FIFA president (Gianni Infantino). We will discuss future activities with our Northern and European colleagues.”
Jesper Moller, chairman of the Danish Football Association (DBU), said Denmark is considering leaving FIFA and is ready to negotiate with UEFA’s 55 members, including England.
The DBU delegation has expressed its “outrage” at FIFA’s threat of sporting sanctions to seven captains who plan to wear the One Love armband.
Denmark will not officially support FIFA president Gianni Infantino’s candidacy for re-election as president.
Moller said: “FIFA has presidential elections. There are 211 countries in FIFA and I understand that the current president has statements of support from 207 countries.
“Denmark is not among these countries. And neither will we.”
He said while leaving FIFA: “This is not a decision made now.” We have been clear about this for a long time. We have been discussing this in the Nordic region since August.
“I thought again. I imagine if Denmark goes it alone there could be difficulties. But let’s see if we can have a dialogue about everything.
“I have to think about how to restore confidence in FIFA. We need to assess what is happening and then create a strategy – also with our Nordic colleagues.
Along with Denmark, England and Wales, Germany, France, Belgium and Switzerland also planned to have their captains wearing One Love armbands in Qatar.
The armbands promote inclusivity and LGBTQ+ rights, same-sex couples are illegal in Qatar.
But the seven skippers have been warned by FIFA that they face yellow cards as a “minimum” penalty for wearing armbands.
Jacob Jensen, director general of DBU, said: “On November 21, England asked for an urgent meeting with FIFA, who came to the English hotel. FIFA said it will at least issue a yellow card.
“There were discussions about whether there is a legal basis for issuing a yellow card, but there is.
“The penalty could have been a yellow card, the captain’s absence from the field or a penalty.”
A CUPS CURSE? THE FIRST CRACKS ARE APPEARING IN THE ENGLAND CAMPAIGN
Goalscoring machine Harry Kane has sparked a major injury scare for England after being sent for a scan on his ankle.
The Three Lions captain was in hospital on Tuesday night for a precautionary check-up after being hit in England’s 6-2 win over Iran on Monday.
Kane is now a major doubt for Friday’s second group stage clash against the USA.
The Spurs forward was still feeling unwell on Tuesday and boss Gareth Southgate insisted on tests in Doha.
England are hoping it’s not too serious as they’re still taking part in a personal warm-up session.
But the loss of Kane on Friday would be a huge blow for England, despite their promising start.
Kane has previously been plagued by ankle problems, but has had a few problems in the last two years.
None of England’s starting XI trained in the warm-up session, but Southgate insisted he was not worried on Monday night.
He said: “I think Harry is fine. Even though it looked like a bad game, he continued to play.
“We really took it because we felt it was a moment where we could do it.
“It was good to renew the forward line, not just to get players on but also to get players on because there were very close calls on who was going to start in those positions.
“We have incredible talent and players who, if they needed to change the game, they could do it.”
If England are to do well at the World Cup, they need a fit Kane.
Their next practice is an indoor session on Wednesday morning.
Kane assisted two of England’s six goals at the World Cup.
He is just three goals away from overtaking Wayne Rooney as England’s all-time top scorer.
Kane scored 51 times in 76 games for his country.
Originally published as World Cup 2022 results, scores, table: Denmark threatens to pull out of FIFA, Harry Kane injured