Football players who U-turned on wearing One Love armbands are “a disgrace compared to people with principles”, The Hard Shoulder presenter Kieran Cuddihy has said.
However, the wearing of political symbols on team kits is banned and FIFA indicated that any player that did so would be automatically given a yellow card.
In a joint statement, the seven football associations said they would have been happy to pay fines but “we cannot put our players in the situation where they might be booked, or even forced to leave the field of play."
England Captain Harry Kane has previously worn a rainbow armband and Kieran said it revealed how little principles he and his fellow players have:
“Remember, this was the one measly effort that was being made to protest the holding of this tournament in Qatar,” he said.
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“Literally the only thing that lots of these professional players with massive global platforms were going to do.
“And now they’re not going to do it at all - and why? Because some of them might get a yellow card before they go onto the pitch.
“I mean talk about principles, this smacks of, ‘These are my principles and if you don’t like them, er, that’s absolutely fine; I can get rid of them and wheel out some new principles for you, just in time for today’s match.’”
Yesterday, Iran’s football team stood mute as their national anthem was played before a game against England.
Iran has recently been convulsed by protestors demanding rights for women and thousands have been arrested for defying the regime.
For Kieran, it is clear which World Cup players people should admire.
“Compare the cowardice of Harry Kane and his chums to the Iranian team who they played against,” he said.
“That Iranian team refused to sing their own national anthem in protest against the brutal crackdown on dissent that’s happening in Iran… and then you’ve got these professional footballers melting away at the thought of getting a yellow card.
“Harry Kane and Virgil van Dijk and co, they’re all amazing sports people but their moral fibre obviously doesn’t amount to a whole lot between them all.
“In fact, they’re a disgrace compared to people with principles.”
Main image: Kieran and Harry Kane. Picture by: Alamy.com