Gay sport minister proudly wears OneLove armband at Qatar World Cup, as promised
Sport minister Stuart Andrew has worn the pro-LGBTQ+ OneLove armband and a rainbow tie to the World Cup in Qatar, in defiance of FIFA’s rulings.
On Tuesday (29 November) the openly gay Welsh minister wore the inclusive armband to the Wales v England match, where England claimed a 3-0 victory.
Ahead of the match, Andrew took to Twitter to write: “Sport has the power to unite and inspire so it’s vital all sporting events, such as the Fifa World Cup, are open and inclusive.
“I’m wearing the #OneLove armband to support the LGBT community and send a positive message that everyone should feel welcome at all sport tournaments.”
The Twitter post has received some negative comments from people who oppose equal rights.
One user wrote: “You’re not welcome in Qatar”.
However, one positive comment from the Football Supporters’ Association chair, Malcolm Clarke, reads: “It is entirely appropriate that our Minister of Sport should attend this game, and that you should wear the armband.
“Sadly, some of our LGBT+ fans felt unable to attend the finals for obvious reasons. They in particular will appreciate you wearing the armband. Well done Minister.”
It follows the Football Associations of England, Wales, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands and Switzerland, confirming they won’t wear the OneLove armband as they had planned due to FIFA’s threat of sporting sanctions.
Captains had planned to wear the OneLove armband in support of LGBTQ+ rights. The English FA had been prepared to pay a fine for captain Harry Kane wearing the armband, but as the tournament got underway on Sunday (20 November), it emerged that Kane could also receive a yellow card for wearing the armband.
Earlier this week, the OneLove armband was criticised by Qatar World Cup chief Hassan Al-Thawadi, who said it sends a “very divisive message” to the Arab world.
“It’s not a Qatari culture or Qatari religion, these values are regional. It’s for the Islamic world, the Arab world, the Middle East,” he stated.
Dr Nas Mohamed, the first gay man in Qatar to come out on a public platform, spoke to PinkNews following Thawadi’s comments, saying: “All of the ways we suffer in Qatar are not Islamic.
“They are not part of our tradition. It is abuse we are being subjected to in the name of religion and tradition. LGBT rights are human rights. Our abuse does not belong anywhere. We must speak up for our rights everywhere.”
Stuart Andrew previously spoke of the pro-LGBTQ+ gesture and said he was “not going to shy away” from who he is, while he condemned FIFA’s “pretty appalling” decision to ban the armbands.
“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.”
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