Sports minister Stuart Andrew vows to wear OneLove armband to England v Wales match in Qatar

Sports Minister Stuart Andrew has vowed to wear the rainbow-coloured OneLove armband when he attends the England v Wales match in Qatar after players were banned from wearing them by Fifa.

Mr Andrew said he was determined to make the gesture to support the LGBT community, following controversy over the stance of football’s governing body to the protest over anti-gay laws in Qatar.

The English and Welsh football associations announced following the threats of “unlimited” disciplinary action by Fifa that they would not go ahead with plans for captains Harry Kane and Gareth Bale to wear the armbands during World Cup matches.

Mr Andrew, who is openly gay, said: “I’m not going to shy away from who I am. Our message very much is that no one should have to hide who they are.

“It is pretty appalling that at the 11th hour they were put in a position where they were told there would be sanctions against them. That’s put them in an impossible position.”

File photo handout photo provided by the FA of England's Harry Kane wearing a OneLove captain's armband. Competing nations previously planning to wear a 'One Love' armband at the World Cup have told their captains not to attempt to do so for fear of sporting sanctions, a joint statement has said. Nick Potts/PA Wire. Issue date: Friday September 23, 2022. Issue date: Monday November 21, 2022. PA Photo. See PA story WORLDCUP Armband. Photo credit should read The FA/PA Wire.
Harry Kane had originally been due to wear the armband during England games

Mr Andrew is following in the footsteps of Denmark’s former Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt and Germany’s interior minister Nancy Faeser, who have worn the armband in the stands during their countries’ World Cup games

He added: “I want to show support, and I was delighted to see that the German minister who attended a recent match has worn it.

“I think it is important that I do so, and I think it’s been really unfair on the England and Welsh team that at the 11th hour they were stopped by FIFA from doing it.”

England and Wales opted to not wear the armbands after their captains were told they could be booked or even forced to leave the pitch.

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Captains are instead to wear Fifa-approved armbands promoting different social messages throughout the tournament.

Fifa announced on Monday that the “No Discrimination” message, originally scheduled to be worn by teams from the quarter-finals stage, would be worn in group games instead.

England FA chief executive Mark Bullingham revealed of “unlimited” disciplinary action from Fifa shortly before the Three Lions played USA on Friday night.

Belgium, Switzerland, Germany, Denmark and The Netherlands have also said their players will not not wear One Love armbands at the World Cup having originally planned to take part in the show of solidarity.

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