England and other European nations have stepped back from the OneLove campaign after the threat of sanctions from FIFA.
England and six other nations have confirmed their players will not wear the OneLove armband at the World Cup.
The move comes after FIFA threatened to write up captains if they breach regulations and make their own statements on social issues rather than following instructions from the game’s governing body.
OneLove, which promotes “inclusion and sends a message against discrimination of any kind”, has gained prominence in the run-up to the tournament in Qatar, a country where homosexuality is illegal.
But following extensive discussions between FIFA and the Football Association Alliance – England, Wales, Belgium, Germany, Denmark, Switzerland and the Netherlands – the armband will now not be worn.
A joint statement read: “FIFA has been very clear that they will impose sporting sanctions if our captains wear armbands on the pitch.
“As a national federation, we cannot put our players in a position where they could face sporting sanctions including bookings, which is why we have asked captains not to try to wear armbands in FIFA World Cup games.
“We were prepared to pay the fines that would normally apply to equipment breaches and we had a strong commitment to wearing the armband. But we cannot put our players in a situation where they could be booked or even forced off the pitch.” .
“We are very frustrated by FIFA’s decision, which we believe is unprecedented – in September we informed FIFA of our desire to wear the One Love armband to actively promote inclusion in football and we received no response.
“Our players and coaches are disappointed – they are strong supporters of inclusion and will show support in other ways.”
England open their World Cup campaign against Iran later on Monday.
In a separate statement, the Dutch FA (KNVB) – the OneLove campaign originated in the Netherlands – expressed its anger and disappointment at FIFA’s stance.
It read: “The KNVB and the Dutch national team players would like to send a positive message with OneLove and against all forms of discrimination.
“We wanted to do it at the World Cup together with England, Wales, Belgium, Switzerland, Germany and Denmark.
“The UEFA task force, which includes the KNVB, asked FIFA on September 19 to accept OneLove’s captain’s armband. Today, a few hours before the first match, FIFA (officially) made it clear,
that the captain will receive a yellow card if he wears the OneLove captain’s armband.
“We deeply regret that it was not possible to reach a reasonable solution together.
“We stand by the OneLove message and continue to deliver on it, but our first priority at the World Cup is to win matches. You don’t want a captain to start a match by getting a yellow card. That’s why we had to take the decision with a heavy heart – as the UEFA task force, KNVB and as a team – leave our plan.
“As previously announced, the KNVB would pay any fines for wearing the OneLove captain’s armband, but for us to be penalized on the pitch by FIFA was not expected.
“This goes against the spirit of our sport, which brings millions of people together. In the coming period, together with the other participating countries, we will take a critical look at our relationship with FIFA.”