The CEO of the Danish Football Association (DBU) told CNN the players at the FIFA World Cup in Qatar should not have to lead messaging around human rights.
Pressed by CNN’s Becky Anderson on whether he’d allow the Danish captain to wear the rainbow-colored “OneLove” armband if he so desired, Jakob Jensen said: "I think it’s not the responsibility of the players to discuss human rights in Qatar and to discuss the decisions of FIFA.
The players are here to play the World Cup, they’ve been looking forward to that."
Denmark was one of seven countries planning to wear the armband during its World Cup campaign before withdrawing at the final moment due to FIFA’s threat of sporting sanctions.
The armband features a numerical No. 1 within a striped heart in different colors to represent all heritages, backgrounds, genders and sexual identities.
“The sanction in hand was not just a yellow card – it was at the very minimum a yellow card,” Jensen told Anderson when asked if making the statement was worth a yellow card.
“It could have been that the captain was not allowed to enter the pitch, that he was not allowed to enter the next match. That’s why we chose to do as we did.”
Jensen denied that the DBU planned to leave FIFA, but confirmed their refusal to support president Gianni Infantino in the upcoming FIFA presidency election.
“We’ve considered several times: Should we leave FIFA? It doesn’t make a lot of sense to leave FIFA,” Jensen said.
“Once again, our tactic is to try to change things in the room, to try to improve FIFA from the inside, and obviously we’re one of a few nations now not backing Infantino – we hope others will join us.
"That being said it seems pretty obvious that Infantino will be elected.”
Last Friday, the president of the German Football Association said the organization did not support current Infantino’s re-election to the role.
FIFA announced last Thursday that Infantino will run unopposed for the next term of the organization’s presidency. It will be Infantino’s third term as president of world football’s governing body.
Jensen confirmed the DBU are investigating “legal opportunities” as a result of the armband controversy, although he admitted that “there is a not a big chance we will have legal success.”
Asked about if the team had planned messaging similar to Germany’s players covering their mouths, Jensen said: “What we’re doing cannot be boiled down to what we’re going to do at one match.
“We’ve been coming here [to Qatar] for seven years with one message – human rights for all – and that’s still our message.”
Denmark’s next match at the tournament is on Saturday against reigning champion France at Stadium 974.