Players will not be allowed to wear the One Love armband during matches at this summer’s 2023 Fifa Women’s World Cup. However, they will have the opportunity to wear armbands supporting other causes.
Fifa, the international governing body of football, has unveiled its plans to raise awareness of various social issues and causes throughout the tournament in Australia and New Zealand.
In each round of matches, team captains can wear armbands that correspond to the cause being highlighted, or they can choose to wear a single armband in support of one cause for the entire tournament.
Controversy behind armbands
The controversy arose as captains of nations participating in the One Love campaign faced potential sporting penalties, such as receiving a yellow card, due to a violation of Fifa’s equipment regulations.
The armbands were viewed as a powerful symbol of acceptance and understanding in a country where same-sex relationships were criminalized.
It is understood that teams will have the freedom to promote other causes during their training camps if they wish. However, wearing the One Love armband or any other unauthorized band during an actual match will result in penalties.
The colors of Fifa’s designated ‘unite for inclusion’ band do not represent the rainbow or LGBT pride flag. Instead, they symbolize race and heritage (red/black/green) and encompass all gender identities and sexual orientations (pink/yellow/blue).
These color combinations were influenced by the Pan-African flag, representing unity among African nations, and the pansexual flag, signifying inclusivity across all sexual orientations.
Awareness campaigns from the platform of FIFA Women’s World Cup
The 2023 Fifa Women’s World Cup will raise awareness for several important causes. These include ‘unite for indigenous peoples,’ ‘unite for gender equality,’ ‘unite for peace,’ ‘unite for education for all,’ ‘unite for zero hunger,’ ‘unite for ending violence against women,’ and ‘football is joy, peace, love, hope and passion.’
Team captains participating in the tournament will have the choice to wear a special ‘football unites the world’ armband throughout the entire event if they do not wish to select a specific cause or support different causes on a round-by-round basis.
Fifa President Gianni Infantino expressed, “Football unites the world and our global events, such as the Fifa Women’s World Cup, have a unique power to bring people together and provide joy, excitement and passion.”
The Football Association (FA) acknowledged Fifa’s engagement with federations and players worldwide regarding the armbands to be worn during the tournament. The next step involves the players themselves deciding which option they will choose to support.
FIFA has announced eight 'Unite' messages players will be able to support during the Women's World Cup – but the ban on the 'One Love' armband will remain in place. pic.twitter.com/abzhJkYw0r
— Sky Sports WSL (@SkySportsWSL) June 30, 2023
The England squad is expected to take some time to deliberate on the available options before making their decision. FifPro, the global players’ union, has also been contacted for their input.
During a press conference before Fifa’s announcement, England midfielder Georgia Stanway was asked about the One Love armband situation.
She responded, “If we can or we can’t wear the armband we know that we wanted to and we’ll stand by the fact that we wanted to. Whatever the outcome is we’ll still stand by whatever we believed in and whatever we wanted to be the resolution.”