Football federations who had planned to wear "OneLove" armbands to protest against discrimination during the World Cup in Qatar were faced with "extreme blackmail" that led to them dropping the gesture, the German Football Association (DFB) said on Tuesday.
The federations of England, Wales, Belgium, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Germany and Denmark had said on Monday they had been put under pressure by FIFA, who had threatened to issue yellow cards to any player wearing the multi-coloured armband.
Homosexuality is illegal in the Gulf state.
The DFB's media director Steffen Simon told German Deutschlandfunk radio that England, who had been the first team to be expected to wear it on Monday in their game against Iran, had been threatened with multiple sporting sanctions.
"The tournament director went to the English team and talked about multiple rule violations and threatened with massive sporting sanctions without specifying what these would be," he said.
Simon, who did not specify if he was referring to local organisers or FIFA in his reference to the tournament director, said the other six nations then decided to "show solidarity" and not wear it.
"We lost the armband and it is very painful but we are the same people as before with the same values. We are not impostors who claim they have values and then betray them," he said.
"We were in an extreme situation, in an extreme blackmail and we thought we had to take that decision without wanting to do so."
"I can understand the disappointment. We had the choice between the plague and cholera," Simon said.
The English team did not want to comment on this matter. FIFA and local organisers did not respond to Reuters requests for a comment.