Harry Kane explains his part in England ditching armband before World Cup 2022 opener
Harry Kane has revealed he had no say in the decision to scrap wearing a One Love armband in the World Cup.
England captain Kane – along with six other European skippers – had planned to make the anti-discrimination gesture during the tournament. But the Football Association backed down after FIFA threatened to book players who wore it after a major diplomatic row between the world governing body and seven major nations.
Kane, when asked after England’s 6-2 win over Iran, said: “Yeah, I think we’re disappointed. I think I said yesterday we wanted to wear it but that decision was taken out of my hands today.
“I turned up to the stadium with the armband that I did wear and I was told I had to wear that. Look, it’s out of our control as players. I’m sure the FA and FIFA will continue those discussions but most importantly today we focused on the game and got a great result.”
The FA could not risk Kane being booked as it would have put him at risk of being suspended for later stages of the tournament.
Kane eventually he wore one of FIFA’s own “no discrimination” armbands. He accepted the FA’s stance but there has been huge annoyance at FIFA and their handling of it as Kane said the players wanted to make a stand.
Kane added: “You’ve seen over the last five years we’ve made a stand as a squad and we’ll continue to do that as much as we can. We took the knee today as well but sometimes these decisions aren’t up to us and that’s the bottom line.
“As a squad, our focus was on the game today and I think we showed we’re a really good team and have full focus on what we need to do.”
Asked if he was angry at FIFA, Kane added: “I’m not going to say words to get headlines. I said I was disappointed I wasn’t able to wear it and that’s it.”
Gareth Southgate added: “It’s not something myself or the players have been involved in over the last 24 hours – those discussions have been ongoing between sev real European nations and FIFA.
“I actually do understand FIFA’s situation in that you can set a precedent and it’s very difficult then – but where do you draw the line?
“I think in an ideal world, that would have been a much clearer situation earlier but it’s not something that has been a distraction for us because we had to focus on the football.
“We can’t be involved in that now. We can only concentrate on our performances, concentrate on our training – and especially the players, it is not for them to have to deal with that.
“People know what we stand for, people know that this group of players are taking the knee because it’s something we feel we can make a difference with. And there are some things I’m not sure we are going to be able to make a difference with and therefore we should channel our energies into the right directions.”