Gay sport minister Stuart Andrew to wear pro-LGBTQ+ OneLove armband to England v Wales game

A professional photograph of Stuart Andrew wearing a blue suit and tie.

Sport minister Stuart Andrew has vowed to wear the pro-LGBTQ+ OneLove armband in defiance of FIFA’s rulings during a visit to Qatar.

The under-secretary of state for sport, tourism, heritage and civil society said he was “not going to shy away from who I am” during a Monday (28 November) interview with Evening Standard.

The openly gay Welsh minister said: “Our message very much is that no one should have to hide who they are.”

He vowed to make the pro-LGBTQ+ gesture during Tuesday’s England v Wales match during the 2022 Qatar World Cup in defiance of FIFA’s warnings that players wearing the OneLove armbands would face sanctions.

The international football association group said players wearing the armbands, which represent a silent protest of Qatar’s anti-LGBTQ+ laws, would face a yellow card from referees during games.

As a result, teams who vowed to wear the armbands during matches, including England and Wales, backed out at the last moment with a joint statement on 21 November.

But various attendees have started wearing the armbands to protest against both FIFA and Qatari officials, while also promoting solidarity towards the LGBTQ+ community.

An image of sports minister Stuart Andrew as he leaves Number 10 Downing Street

Stuart Andrew defiantly vowed to wear the OneLove Armband during the Qatar game. (Getty)

Andrew, who said he was in a “unique position” to share pro-LGBTQ+ sentiments as an openly gay minister, said he position the teams were put in by FIFA was “pretty appalling.”

“It is pretty appalling that, at the eleventh 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.”

He defended the decision by the clubs to back down from wearing the armbands, saying: “This is an incredibly important tournament for international football… of course they want to progress as far as they can.

“For them to be silenced is deeply unfair,” Andrew added.

But the Conservative minister criticised FIFA further for what he called hypocrisy, saying that the governing body had told participants to “concentrate on the football and don’t do the politics.

“Well, I’m sorry, that is just not an acceptable position,” Andrews continued. “It’s not sustainable. And I think there are serious questions for FIFA to answer.”

Alex Scott praised for wearing OneLove armband

BBC Sports presenter Alex Scott has been praised by viewers and activists after she defiantly wore the OneLove armband while covering the World Cup in Qatar.
Scott was dubbed a “legend” and “brave” by social media users, who saw her don the armband during a broadcast by the World Cup pitch.
“Alex Scott, a queer woman of colour, wearing the one love armband just shows that she has so much more courage than anyone walking on that pitch today,” one user said.
Another wrote: “The threat of sporting sanctions stopped Harry Kane from wearing the OneLove armband, but the legend that is Alex Scott made sure it didn’t go to waste. FIFA can’t book her either.”