DOHA, Qatar (AP) — FIFA’s threat of on-field punishment for players has pushed World Cup teams to back down.
They abandoned a plan Monday for their captains to wear armbands that were seen as a rebuke to host nation Qatar’s human rights record.
Just hours before the first players wearing the armbands in support of the “One Love” campaign were set to take the field, FIFA warned they would immediately be shown yellow cards.
That changed the calculus for the seven European teams. They may have expected to merely be fined.
The standoff was just the latest dispute that threatened to overshadow play on the field. Since being awarded the World Cup hosting rights in 2010, conservative Muslim Qatar has faced criticism of its treatment of low-paid migrant workers as well as its criminalization of homosexuality.