England bows to FIFA pressure over LGBTQ OneLove armbands

Harry Kane and his OneLove armband in support of the LGBTQ community

The England team attending the highly controversial and scandal-hit World Cup in Qatar have been forced into a u-turn on their decision to wear OneLove armbands supporting the LGBTQ+ community

statement from the English football team revealed the reason behind their decision not to wear the OneLove armband, after being adamant they would accept a penalty from FIFA for disobeying its regulations in October 2022.

Qatar and FIFA have been mired in scandal, since the tiny Gulf state was awarded the hosting rights.

The country has been severely criticised for its poor treatment of migrant workers, with some saying 6,000 have perished in the building process for the games; its terrible laws against the LGBTQ+ world and women’s rights.

Moreover, the nation also suddenly pulled the rug under $60m+ sponsor Budweiser just last week, by banning beer sales within the various stadia, even though alcohol has always been available in the nation and on its national carrier Qatar Airways.

Gay rights

Male homosexuality is illegal in Qatar, with a punishment of up to three years in prison, a fine and the possibility of a death penalty for Muslims under sharia law, several European football teams asked FIFA to allow their teams captains to wear armbands displaying a rainbow heart design as part of the human rights OneLove campaign to fight discrimination.

Facing the threat of FIFA sporting sanctions, European teams, including England, the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Switzerland and Wales, have decided not to wear the armband.

“As national federations, we can’t put our players in a position where they could face sporting sanctions including bookings, so we have asked the captains not to attempt to wear the armbands in FIFA World Cup games.

“We were prepared to pay fines that would normally apply to breaches of kit regulations, and had a strong commitment to wearing the armband.

“However, we cannot put our players in the situation where they might be booked or even forced to leave the field of play.

“We are very frustrated by the FIFA decision, which we believe is unprecedented – we wrote to FIFA in September informing them of our wish to wear the One Love armband to actively support inclusion in football, and had no response.

“Our players and coaches are disappointed – they are strong supporters of inclusion and will show support in other ways.”