Simply hours earlier than kick off, England’s first sport on the FIFA World Cup was already shrouded in controversy. Captain Harry Kane was on account of put on a OneLove rainbow armband to present help for the LGBTQ+ group; a press release much more poignant because of the event being held in Qatar, a rustic which criminalises homosexuality. Nevertheless, simply hours earlier than the match towards Iran was on account of begin, the Soccer Affiliation made a U-turn and declared Kane, together with Wales captain Gareth Bale and 5 different international locations, would not be carrying the armband.
The choice to desert the armband got here after FIFA threatened to e-book any gamers who did put on it. A joint assertion from seven soccer associations, together with England, Wales, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, and Switzerland, outlined that they “cannot put our gamers able the place they might face sporting sanctions together with bookings”. Regardless of informing FIFA of their want to put on the armbands in September, the governing our bodies defined they’d obtained no response. “We have been ready to pay fines that will usually apply to breaches of package laws and had a powerful dedication to carrying the armband,” the assertion continued. It later echoed a sentiment felt by tens of millions of followers: “We’re very pissed off by the FIFA determination which we consider is unprecedented”.
As a substitute, former England participant and soccer pundit Alex Scott made a strong gesture by carrying the OneLove armband as she commentated from the facet of the pitch. Heralded as courageous by followers on social media, Scott’s determination to show the armband spoke volumes. As a girl, she is already in a extra weak place than her male colleagues, as ladies’s freedoms in Qatar are closely restricted. Scott additionally identifies as queer, having just lately opened up about her id in her memoir, “How (Not) to be Robust”.
“Let’s hope within the subsequent 4 years on the world cup we’re by no means having to have these conversations once more.”
One tweet learn, “Alex Scott proving she has extra balls than England and all the different groups who backtracked on their determination to put on a #OneLove armband, what a queen!” One other tweeted, “Equality just isn’t an opinion, it is a human proper.”
Scott had been criticised for even attending the event within the first place, but addressed her determination on the BBC through the opening sport. “I like my job and after I give it some thought sitting right here and having the tougher conversations and it is larger is not it? We’re speaking about migrant employees; we’re speaking concerning the LGBT+ group we’re speaking about ladies’s rights. Let’s hope within the subsequent 4 years on the world cup we’re by no means having to have these conversations once more.”
Whereas Scott just isn’t held to the identical requirements because the participant and cannot be booked, taking a stand towards discrimination of every kind is a lot larger than soccer. That is why Scott’s present of solidarity means she has already proved herself as our World Cup winner.