FA chiefs fear they are being strong-armed by FIFA into ordering Harry Kane not to wear his One Love armband against Iran today.
England skipper Kane made clear his determination to lead Gareth Southgate‘s team into battle with the armband on public display despite warnings that he could even be booked for doing so before entering the pitch.
GettyKane plans to wear the armband for the game against Iran[/caption]
GettyFifa could attempt to have the armband physically removed from his arm[/caption]
The FA stuck to their guns after a meeting with FIFA match commissioner in which it was “pointed out” to them that wearing the armband would be a breach of regulations.
But the commissioner could intervene if Kane does try to defy FIFA and order it to be removed or attempt to physically strip it off the England skipper.
The astonishing row left both England and Wales officials frustrated and angry.
Conversations between the FA and FIFA were continuing into Sunday evening and could resume in the hours before kick off on Monday.
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An FA spokesperson said: “We are still seeking for clarification from FIFA over what the rules are and what we have to do.”
Earlier on Sunday German FA chiefs were told there was a possibility that any team skipper wearing the armband in defiance of Fifa’s demand to only wear the official slogan could be cautioned before the game started.
With two bookings bringing a one-match ban, such a policy could have a major impact on the tournament.
England are the first of the eight European teams committed to the policy to go into action when they kick off against Iran on Monday.
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It meant a shadow potentially hanging over the Spurs man, Liverpool’s Dutch captain Virgil van Dijk and Wales leader Gareth Bale.
Speaking about the issue on Sunday, Kane said: “I feel we’ve made it clear as a team, as a staff and as an organisation that we want to wear the armband.
“I know the FA are talking to Fifa at the moment. I’m sure by game time tomorrow they’ll have their decision.
“We’ve made it clear that we want to wear it.”
Van Dijk, whose side face Senegal on Monday, pledged: “I will wear the One Love armband tomorrow.
“Nothing changed from our point of view. If I will get a yellow card for wearing it then we would have to discuss it because I don’t like to play while being on a yellow [card].”
Fifa declined to make any comment on “speculation” but when the FA insisted Kane would wear the armband, there was a unified approach from the Germans.
German FA President Bernd Neuendorf told broadcaster ZDF: “We will stay with the European position.
“We will play with it and tomorrow England, Wales and the Netherlands will play with it.
“Fifa came up with their own armband idea just two days ago.
“That’s was not acceptable for us.
“England have played with the One Love armband already and the captains of the teams said, they will play with it.
“So we could not agree with FIFA on this point.”
But that stance appeared to be under pressure after the official pre-match meeting between the teams and Fifa.
Fifa’s representative “pointed out” tournament regulations banning the wearing of any unauthorised piece of equipment.
Then the implied threat of a pre-match caution or potential physical encounter with Kane added to the already high desert temperatures.
The England camp do not want to put Southgate’s skipper in the invidious position of having an altercation with FIFA in the minutes before one of the biggest matches of his career.
And that might yet see the FA pulling back from a consultation despite their desire to make a public statement in support of the basic human rights that Fifa claims to support.
Fifa President Gianni Infantino spoke on Saturday about the revised “statutes” of the organisation.
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Article 3 of those Statutes reads: “Fifa is committed to respecting all internationally recognised human rights and shall strive to promote the protection of these rights.”
But by booking a player for an armband supporting those SAME rights, or forcing it’s removal, Fifa would be actively stopping the “protection of those rights” rather than promoting them.