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Openly-gay Sports minister Stuart Andrew will wear OneLove armband to England v Wales in Qatar

Openly-gay Sports minister Stuart Andrew will risk upsetting World Cup hosts Qatar by wearing OneLove armband to England v Wales match on Tuesday: Tory MP says he won’t ‘shy away from who I am’

Openly-gay sports minister Stuart Andrew says he won’t ‘shy away from who I am’ by wearing a OneLove armband to tomorrow’s World Cup clash between England and Wales.

Seven European nations, including the two British teams, had hoped to wear the rainbow armband during the tournament as part of a year-long anti-discrimination campaign in Qatar, where homosexuality is illegal.

However, bosses had to abandon those plans when FIFA threatened them with sporting sanctions, which only started at a yellow card for the captains wearing them.

Other gestures have since been made, including lighting up the Wembley Stadium arch in rainbow colours, while BBC pundit Alex Scott did wear the armband during coverage of England’s opening game with Iran.

But critics dismissed these actions as ‘virtue signalling’ in absence of the planned protest which never materialised.

Today, Mr Andrew insisted he too will defy the competition hosts’ wishes and wear the armband, telling the Evening Standard: ‘Our message very much is that no one should have to hide who they are.’

Openly-gay sports minister Stuart Andrew says he won’t ‘shy away from who I am’ by wearing a OneLove armband to tomorrow’s World Cup clash between England and Wales

England's football team had been planning to wear the LGBTQ+ armband along with other European teams such as Germany and Denmark before the campaign was dropped when FIFA threatened to hand out yellow cards to players. Pictured: Harry Kane wearing the rainbow armband

England’s football team had been planning to wear the LGBTQ+ armband along with other European teams such as Germany and Denmark before the campaign was dropped when FIFA threatened to hand out yellow cards to players. Pictured: Harry Kane wearing the rainbow armband

BBC Presenter and former footballer Alex Scott is pictured wearing OneLove armband

BBC Presenter and former footballer Alex Scott is pictured wearing OneLove armband

His stance appears at odds with that of Foreign Secretary James Cleverly, who was strongly criticised last month for urging gay fans to show a ‘little bit of flex and compromise’ and to ‘respect the culture of your host nation’. 

Mr Andrew, who is also an equalities minister, said of the desire of teams and players to wear the armband: ‘It means a lot to me personally, means a lot to me as a minister and more broadly, means a lot to fans out there.

‘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.’

It comes after it was revealed that six FIFA officials were sent to the England’s football team’s headquarters on Monday ahead of their match against Iran to threaten ‘drastic sanctions’. 

The German Football Association (DFB) claimed earlier this week that England and other teams were faced with ‘extreme blackmail’ or ‘massive sanctions’ that led to them dropping the gesture. 

Germany protested against FIFA’s stance by covering their mouths for a team photo before their match against Japan on Wednesday, to highlight how they felt silenced.

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Read more at DailyMail.co.uk



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