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FA accused of ‘hypocrisy’ over Forest Green’s Just Stop Oil warm-up t-shirts

Forest Green chairman Dale Vince has accused the FA of double standards after his team were prevented from wearing ‘Just Stop Oil’ t-shirts (Andrew Matthews/PA)
Forest Green chairman Dale Vince has accused the FA of double standards after his team were prevented from wearing ‘Just Stop Oil’ t-shirts (Andrew Matthews/PA)

The Football Association has been accused of “hypocrisy” after it blocked a League One club from wearing ‘Just Stop Oil’ t-shirts in a warm-up.

Forest Green chairman Dale Vince says the FA prevented his team from wearing the t-shirts before their FA Cup tie against South Shields earlier this month, deeming it to be a political message.

England are one of seven nations who were threatened with “unlimited” sporting sanctions by FIFA if they wore an anti-discrimination armband at the World Cup, and Vince believes there are parallels between the cases.

He shared a letter he had written to FA chief executive Mark Bullingham on Twitter, saying he had seen the interview Bullingham gave to ITV about the threat of armband sanctions aired before the match against the United States on Friday.

“I felt compelled to write to ask if you were aware that the FA itself acted in the same fashion towards FGR as FIFA have towards the FA,” he wrote.

“Just Stop Oil is of course an environmental campaign and slogan. The people behind it and those that support it are apolitical. They seek the ending of exploration for new sources of fossil fuels, because of the energy crisis.

“The FA have been highly critical of FIFA for not allowing the wearing of the OneLove armband and for the ‘unlimited’ sanctions that the FA and England team faced if they ignored that advice.

“This situation mirrors the situation we found ourselves in a few weeks ago except in this case the FA played the role of FIFA.

“In England where the FA has jurisdiction, it banned our intended act of solidarity and we also faced unlimited sanctions.

“At best it is an example of double standards, at worst it deserves to be called hypocrisy – to take this righteous and outspoken position against FIFA in Qatar, while acting like FIFA back at home.”

An FA spokesperson said: “The FA has clear kit and advertising regulations for all club matchday kits.

“Prior to the match, we informed Forest Green that using the logo they requested on their warm-up shirt would be in breach of these regulations, on the basis that it constitutes a political message.

“At no point did we suggest or refer to any sanctions in our communications with the club.”