England captain Harry Kane will wear a OneLove rainbow armband at the Qatar World Cup, in support of the LGBTQ+ community. The Football Association and the Three Lions star are collectively determined to go ahead with the anti-discrimination initiative, even if it risks hefty fines from FIFA.
The FA announced in September that the captain’s armband would have a OneLove reference throughout the competition, but permission is required from FIFA for wearing such items. The UEFA Working Group asked for permission three weeks ago, but it is still awaiting a response.
A delegation from the group - that the FA is a member of - is set to meet with FIFA in Zurich this week, and it is said an update will then be requested. It comes as a stand against a law in Qatar - as homosexuality is banned. Qatari authorities have also been unable to guarantee the safety of travelling LGBTQ+ supporters.
Speaking to Sky Sports in September, England manager Gareth Southgate said: “There is not a lot more the players, in particular, can do other than talk about those issues and put them on the table. Because in the end, we are asking for change in a country we are respectful of, has made progress, but don’t have any control over.
"We’ve done a lot of research, the FA have had countless meetings with NGOs, migrant workers in Qatar, they’ve gathered all the information and requests of people affected. There’s a limit to what can be achieved.
"Talking about the issues, raising them and putting them on the table is the vehicle that people involved in sport have used in the past, and it is what we’re trying to do this time. There will always be criticism whatever you do, but we’re trying to affect the areas we’ve been asked to affect.”