ENGLAND and Wales will not wear armbands protesting against LGBT discrimination in Qatar during their World Cup matches after threats of sporting sanctions.

The decision – made alongside five other European nations who had signed up to the “One Love” campaign – comes just three hours before England are due to kick off their first World Cup match.

“FIFA has been very clear that it will impose sporting sanctions if our captains wear the armbands on the field of play,” the statement from the seven countries began.

“As national federations, we can’t put our players in a position where they could face sporting sanctions, including bookings, so we have asked the captains not to attempt to wear the armbands in FIFA World Cup games.”

The seven teams which had planned to wear the armbands were England, Wales, the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, and Switzerland. 

England will face Iran in their first game in Group B on Monday afternoon – the second game of the entire tournament – and while the FA was prepared to accept a fine for wearing the armband, the threat of stars such as Harry Kane being booked before the game led to a rethink.

FA chief executive Mark Bullingham told BBC Radio 4 on Monday morning: “It is a very live situation and there are discussions that are carrying on. We are working through those issues right now.

“It is true to say that FIFA did indicate yesterday that there could be sporting sanctions and that’s something which we’ve got to work through.

“We’ve been clear that we want to wear the armband, it is important to us, but equally we need to work through all of the discussions right now and see where we end up.

“We would need to consider the implications. Normally in this kind of situation there would be a fine that would be paid and we’ve always said we would be happy to do that – happy might be the wrong word, but we would be prepared to pay the fine because we think it is important to show our support for inclusion.

“If the sporting sanctions threat is real then we have to look at that and we would need to step back and see if there is another way in which we could show our values.”

Kane is among the captains of nine European nations planning to wear the rainbow armbands, with Wales and the Netherlands the other teams among that number who are also in action on Monday.

England skipper Kane and manager Gareth Southgate had shown their support for wearing the armband on Sunday.

Kane said: “I think we’ve made it clear as a team and a staff and organisation that we want to wear the armband.

“I know the FA are talking to FIFA at the moment, and I’m sure by game-time they will have their decision. But, yeah, I think we’ve made it clear that we want to wear it.”

Asked for his opinion given the apparent threat of a yellow card, boss Southgate added: “There’s nothing I can add to what Harry has said.

“I know there are some conversations going on. I think a number of European countries have spoken.

“We’ve made our position clear, so hopefully everything will be resolved before the game.”