World Cup: Sanctions over ‘OneLove’ armband send ‘controversial’ message, says Denmark manager Kasper Hjulmand

Danish manager Kasper Hjulmand said he saw no reason for sanctioning his team for their plan to wear a One Love armband but said it was impossible to require a player to do so if it entailed disciplinary action on the pitch.

New Delhi,UPDATED: Nov 21, 2022 17:32 IST

Denmark manager Kasper Hjulmand

Sanctions over OneLove armband send controversial message: Denmark manager Hjulmand (Reuters)

By India Today Web Desk: Denmark manager Kasper Hjulmand said he saw no reason to sanction his team for wearing a One Love armband, but that requiring a player to do so would be impossible if it meant disciplinary action on the field.

The captains of England, Wales, Belgium, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Germany, and Denmark will not wear the “OneLove” armbands after FIFA warned them that they would be booked, the associations said in a joint statement on Monday. Hjulmand, who spoke before the joint statement was released, said the move to penalise teams for wearing the armband sent a “controversial message.”

“Imagine going on the pitch with a clear yellow card to start with,” he told a news conference.

“That is not possible. We have to make sure that it’s not up to players to make that decision.”

While it is not solely aimed at the rights of the LGBTQ community, the armband carries special significance in Qatar, where homosexuality is illegal and punishable by prison.

“This is not something invented for this occasion. It’s something we have done before,” Hjulmand said.

“I can’t see the problem, to be honest. For me, it’s also a big question mark.”

Denmark qualified for the World Cup by winning nine of 10 matches and conceding only three goals, making them solid contenders to reach the latter stages of the tournament.

“This group of players has the quality to win,” Hjulmand said. “I mean win everything. Are we the favourites? No. But we can beat everyone on the day.”

Tunisia, Denmark’s first opponents, have failed to reach the knockout stage in their five previous appearances at the finals. In their five World Cup appearances, the Danes were knocked out in the group stage only once.

Denmark’s World Cup opener will also mark a personal victory for playmaker Christian Eriksen, who suffered a near-fatal heart attack in their Euro opener.

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