One Love armband row damages FIFA and FA reputations

Matthew SmithHead of Data Journalism
November 23, 2022, 10:30 AM GMT+0

English football fans continue to have a favourable view of the FA, however

Prior to the World Cup, European teams in the competition publicised that their team captains would wear a ‘One Love’ armband at the tournament to protest discrimination in Qatar. However, at the last minute, most national football associations, including the FA, bowed to threats from FIFA that players wearing the armband would receive a pre-match booking, and instructed their players not to wear the armband.

A YouGov survey conducted that day showed that 52% of Britons thought the players should have worn the armband regardless. Now a separate poll shows that both FIFA and the FA’s reputations have taken a knock following the row.

English people were divided in their attitudes towards the FA prior to the tournament. In our poll on 25-26 October, 31% said they had a favourable view of the organisation and 35% an unfavourable one.

Now our new poll, conducted following the One Love armband row, the number with a positive view has fallen to 27% and the number with a negative view has increased to 43%. Around a third (30-34%) answered don’t know on either occasion.

The FA is still seen favourably among football fans in England, but the governing body’s reputation has still taken a knock. The proportion of fans with a favourable view of the FA has fallen from 59% to 50%, while the number with an unfavourable opinion has risen from 30% to 40%.

The England team, as well as Harry Kane personally, are still seen very positively. Most English people (54-58%) have a positive view of either, compared to only 15-18% with a negative one. Football fans are even more positive still, with 79% having a positive view of Kane and 83% for the England team. (There are no pre-tournament comparison figures for Kane or the England team)

Opinion of tournament organisers FIFA, which had already been very negative, has become more so. Only 8% of Britons now have a favourable view of FIFA, down from 14% prior to the tournament, while the number with an unfavourable view has risen from 54% to 69%.

Among football fans the shift has been more dramatic. While 29% had a favourable view of FIFA shortly before the World Cup began, now just 13% do. Over the same time period, the number of football fans with a negative opinion of FIFA has risen from 62% to 79%.