Australia captain Sam Kerr said on Monday she will not wear a “OneLove” rainbow armband at the women’s World Cup this month because it was not worth “putting everything at risk”.
FIFA unveiled eight different armbands last week highlighting social causes that sides can wear at the tournament, co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand, which kicks off on July 20.
A “OneLove” band in rainbow colours to support LGBTQ rights was not among them.
“We kind of expected it, the men’s World Cup, the women’s World Cup … being honest I didn’t expect them to change it (the rule),” Kerr, a long-time advocate of LGBTQ rights, said as Australia announced its 23-strong squad.
Captains from several European countries, including England and Germany, wanted to wear it at the men’s World Cup last year in a symbolic protest against laws in Qatar, where homosexuality is illegal.
However, they abandoned the idea after being threatened with sporting sanctions — including being shown a yellow card — just days before the tournament kicked off.
“Obviously we would love to wear it — like most of the teams in the whole world, everyone has voiced that they would love to wear it,” Kerr said.
“But I think you saw with the men’s World Cup, (England captain) Harry Kane for example, first game if he had worn it, yellow card, if he’d got a yellow card again, he would’ve been sent off.
“So for me it’s not worth the risk of putting the team at risk, of putting the tournament at risk, putting everything at risk. There will be multiple opportunities where I get to use my voice for things.
“We have to abide by the rules that we’re given really,” she said.
Players can instead wear an amended version that is similar to “OneLove”, with the words “Unite for Inclusion” alongside a heart shape in rainbow colours.
Other causes highlighted include gender equality, ending violence against women, hunger and the rights of indigenous people.
Captains will be able to wear a different armband for each match corresponding to the cause being promoted or support one cause for the entire tournament.
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