British sports minister promises to wear OneLove armband at Qatar World Cuptext_fields
Doha: Stuart Andrew, the UK's sports minister, said he will be wearing the rainbow-coloured OneLove armband at Qatar World Cup. Homosexuality is illegal in Qatar and the government has been confiscating rainbow-coloured items at the event.
The British minister, who is gay, told ITV News that he will "most definitely be wearing the OneLove armband" because he wants to show support. German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser wore the "OneLove" armband while sitting next to FIFA president Gianni Infantino. FIFA has threatened many European teams who planned to wear the armband with sporting sanctions. They had to go back on their intentions and prioritise their matches.
Speaking about Faeser, Andrew said he was delighted to see it. "I think it is important that I do so." He added: " 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."
"These games should be a celebration show and for all football fans to enjoy. But sadly so many of them are feeling that these are not. This is not a tournament for them. I met with LGBT football supporters, and it was really distressing to see actually how emotional they got that they couldn't be. They didn't feel they could be part of this and that is not acceptable," he added.
Hassan Al-Thawadi, the head of Qatar's World Cup organising committee, said the teams who want to wear the OneLove armband are sending a "very divisive message" to the Islamic and Arab world. He added that he has an issue with the armband because he sees it as a protest against Islamic values and an Islamic country hosting a major event.
Speaking about the actions of European teams who wanted to wear the armband, he said: "If the teams decided to do it throughout the entire season, that is one thing. But if you're coming to make a point or a statement in Qatar, that is something I have an issue with. And it goes back to the simple fact that this is a part of the world that has its own set of values. This is not Qatar I'm talking about, it's the Arab world."
"For the teams to come and preach or make statements, that's fine. But what you're essentially saying is you're protesting an Islamic country hosting an event. Where does that end? Does that mean no Islamic country can ever be able to participate in anything? There's going to be different values and different views coming in," he told Talksport.