Football Association chief executive Mark Bullingham has said Fifa has threatened “unlimited” penalties against players who wear the OneLove armband during World Cup matches in Qatar.
England, Wales and five other European countries planned to wear the armband to promote diversity and inclusion.
They were forced to abandon these plans after Fifa threatened them with sporting sanctions.
Bullingham said the FA took the threat from Fifa to mean players could face bans.
“It was unlimited. They would take disciplinary action against any player wearing the armband in addition to getting a yellow card,” he said. ITV Sports.
Governing bodies in England, Wales, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands and Switzerland said they wrote to Fifa in September informing them of the OneLove armband, but did not received response.
“We had a lot of meetings with Fifa during this period and on Saturday before the game we felt we had reached an agreement on where we were going to wear it,” added Bullingham. “We didn’t get permission, but we would be fined for it.
“Unfortunately on the day of the game they gave us 10 minutes notice – two hours before we were due to go to the game.
“They came here with five officials and they presented us with a scenario where, at a minimum, anyone wearing the armband would be booked and face disciplinary action on top of that.”
In response to the threat from Fifa, Germany the players covered their mouths for the team photo ahead of their game against Japan on Tuesday in protest.
No disciplinary action has been taken, although the German football federation (DFB) has said it will investigate whether Fifa’s threat to punish players for wearing the armband is legal.
The England players opted out of protesting ahead of Friday’s game against the United States, despite Wembley’s arch being lit up in rainbow colours.
“The FA will continue to show their support for the LGBTQ+ community and all other communities during this tournament and well beyond, starting with lighting the arch at Wembley Stadium in rainbow colors for the Friday night’s game against the United States,” the FA said in a statement. .
Pride in Football, a network of LGBT+ fan groups in the UK, has criticized the FA for not doing enough.
“While appreciating the gesture, responding with something miles away from Qatar is more about getting brownie points than creating change,” the band wrote on Twitter.
“Was it done because countries like Germany actually reacted to the armband failure? Maybe that reaction would have been more effective on Monday.”