Wales celebrate Gareth Bale's goal against the USA. Credit FAW

One Love armband U-turn brings criticism of FAW and FIFA

Wales were one of seven European countries set to wear rainbow-coloured armbands as a gesture against discrimination.

JUST hours before Wales’ opening World Cup game against the USA, the FAW made a U-turn on their plans for captain Gareth Bale to wear a ‘One Love’ armband.

The rainbow-coloured armbands are designed to be worn as a protest in Qatar, a country where same-sex sexual activity is banned.

Noel Mooney, the chief executive of the Football Association of Wales, had previously said that Wales were willing to accept fines for wearing the armbands.

However, when it became clear that FIFA would impose sporting sanctions, such as a yellow card for the player wearing it, the FAW along with six other European nations decided to scrap these plans.

This has proved controversial with many pundits and fans taking to social media to criticise the FAW for backtracking on its decision and criticising FIFA for threating players with sanctions.

Wales’ most capped player of all time, Jess Fishlock MBE, said “I am disgusted by FIFA. Imagine threatening players.

“I’m gutted for Bale / Rambo / Ben… it shouldn’t be like that for them today.”

The Rainbow Wall, the official Twitter account of Wales’ LGBTQ + supporters group, released a statement in conjunction with their English counterparts, Three Lions Pride.

“All of us at Three Lions Pride and The Rainbow Wall stand together in condemning the actions of FIFA today.

“In seeking to censor European FAs and players by forcing them to abandon using the One Love armband aimed at tackling all forms of discrimination, FIFA are guilty of crushing the basic human rights to freedom of speech and of expression that every single of us should have without question.”

There was further controversy before the game at the Ahmed Bin Ali Stadium as Welsh fans had their rainbow-coloured bucket hats confiscated on entry to the stadium.

A video circulated on social media of former Wales women’s captain Laura McAllister being told to remove her hat as she walked through the turnstiles.

The FAW released a statement saying: “On Monday (21st November) Cymru returned to the FIFA World Cup for the first time in 64 years, an historic moment for the squad, the valued fans – The Red Wall / Y Wal Goch – and the nation.

“However the FAW were extremely disappointed by reports that members of Y Wal Goch, which included FAW staff members were asked to remove and discard their Rainbow Wall bucket hats before entry to the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium. These bucket hats were created in partnership with the FAW.

“The FAW has collated information on these alleged incidents and will be addressing this matter directly with FIFA today (22nd November 2022)

“The FAW will not be releasing any further comment at this stage.”