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Danish FA raise the prospect of a FIFA exit as former FAI chief speaks out

Danish FA (DBU) chairman Jesper Moller has revealed he's ready for talks with the other 55 UEFA members nations about the possibility of leaving FIFA.

Gianni Infantino© PA

Kevin PalmerSunday World

The Qatar World Cup has been a political disaster for FIFA and now leading nations are set to stage talks over withdrawing from the game’s governing body.

Several European nations were planning to wear a ‘One Love’ armband in at the World Cup to support the LGBTQ+ community in a Qatari nation where homosexuality is illegal.

Yet after initially suggesting they would allow the armband to be displayed, FIFA changed their approach on the eve of the tournament, infuriating England and Welsh FA’s.

Now Danish FA (DBU) chairman Jesper Moller has revealed he's ready for talks with the other 55 UEFA members nations about the possibility of exiting FIFA following this winter World Cup.

"It is not a decision that has been made now. We have been clear about this for a long time. We have been discussing it in the Nordic region since August," stated Moller.

"I’ve thought it again. I imagine that there may be challenges if Denmark leaves on its own. But let us see if we cannot have a dialogue on things.

"I have to think about the question of how to restore confidence in FIFA. We must evaluate what has happened, and then we must create a strategy – also with our Nordic colleagues.”

Germany’s players took the ‘One Love’ armband protest to a new level as their players covered their mouths during a team photo at the World Cup, but will not face any disciplinary action from FIFA, the PA news agency understands.

The move marked another day of tension between the seven European nations who supported the OneLove campaign and FIFA, with the group – which includes the English and Welsh FAs – exploring their legal options over the matter.

The Football Association declined to comment on whether the England team would copy the German gesture ahead of their match against the United States on Friday, while the Football Association of Wales chief executive and former Interim FAI Chief Executive Officer Noel Mooney said he was “furious” with FIFA’s behaviour in the armband row.

England and Wales were only told hours before their opening matches on Monday that they would face sporting sanctions if captains Harry Kane and Gareth Bale wore the rainbow-coloured armbands.

Noel Mooney, Chief Executive Officer, Football Association of Wales during the UEFA Nations League match at Cardiff City Stadium, Cardiff. Picture date: Saturday June 11, 2022.© PA

Mooney told ITV: “Months and months (FIFA) have known we were going to wear the OneLove armband, and to lay that one on us is pretty cheap and pretty low to be frank and we’re really disappointed by that attitude.

“We’ve been absolutely furious about this, we’ve given FIFA everything we’ve got in terms of how furious we are about this decision. We think this was a terrible decision.”

Asked whether he felt it looked like the OneLove group had backed down, Mooney said: “We didn’t back down. We had to look at the sporting sanction that was there.

“We had said we would take fines, we would accept whatever sanctions came, but when it turned at the very last moment to specific sporting sanctions that would have stopped our players taking the field of play potentially, that’s a different thing. It was done so late.”

The OneLove campaign started in September and runs for a year but was set to be especially significant during the World Cup in Qatar, a country where same-sex relationships are criminalised.

PA understands lawyers for the group are looking at the regulations to examine the sanctions the associations were threatened with. Danish FA chief executive Jakob Jensen confirmed legal options were being explored, but said the group could not immediately go to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Speaking about the ‘covered mouths’ gesture after his side’s 2-1 defeat to Japan, Germany coach Hansi Flick said: “It was a sign, a message that we wanted to send out. We wanted to convey the message that FIFA is silencing us.”

The German gesture could have prompted disciplinary action from FIFA under Article 11 of its disciplinary code. It states that anyone “using a sports event for demonstrations of a non-sporting nature” may be sanctioned.

FIFA has yet to comment on what the German team did, but it is understood there will be no formal disciplinary action from the governing body.

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