England football captain Harry Kane will wear a OneLove rainbow armband at the World Cup in Qatar even if it’s prohibited by FIFA, it has been confirmed.
Kane is one of ten captains at the World Cup who plan to wear rainbow armbands with Wales, Germany, France, Holland, Belgium, Denmark and Switzerland among the countries supporting the move.
The Football Association says this is part of an anti-discrimination initiative, and despite the fact that that no permission has yet been given by FIFA, the FA remain determined for Kane to be wearing the armband – even if it risks potential fines.
The OneLove armbands will be used to promote diversity, inclusion and anti-discrimination, in Qatar – where same-sex relationships and the promotion of same-sex relationships are criminalised.
Kane said: “I am honoured to join my fellow national team captains in supporting the important OneLove campaign. As captains we may all be competing against each other on the pitch, but we stand together against all forms of discrimination. This is even more relevant at a time when division is common in society.”
James Cleverly, the Foreign Secretary, said he would “absolutely support” Kane and the FA’s stance on the armband.
However, Qatar’s World Cup chief has spoken out against the tournament becoming a “platform of political statements.”
Nasser Al Khater, the chief executive of the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, declared his opposition to the increasing politicisation of the first World Cup in the Muslim world and even said some of the critics of the event could be racist.
Al Khater told Sky News: “From what I understand, there are discussions taking place about the different political messages that are going to be.”
He added: “This is a sporting tournament that people want to come [to] and enjoy. Turning it into a platform of political statements, I don’t think is right for the sport.”
But Al Khater did say fans were welcome to display rainbow flags at the World Cup and that gay supporters would be free to hold hands in public.
He added: “At the end of the day, as long as you don’t do anything that harms other people, if you’re not destroying public property, as long as you’re behaving in a way that’s not harmful, then everybody’s welcome and you have nothing to worry about.”
FIFA has yet to respond to a request three weeks ago by the Football Association and its counterparts in Wales, Germany, France, Holland, Belgium, Denmark and Switzerland for their captains to be allowed to wear the One Love armband.