AL RAYYAN, Qatar (AP) — The players for both England and Wales took a knee before their final World Cup group game on Tuesday.
The teams made the gesture as a sign of solidarity in the fight against LGBTQ+ discrimination.
England and Wales were among seven European nations that had intended to have their captains wear “One Love” armbands in support of inclusivity at the tournament in Qatar. But they had to abandon those plans after FIFA threatened sporting sanctions for any captain that wore them.
England coach Gareth Southgate said his players would take a knee at the start of the tournament. The team did it at all three Group B matches in Qatar. Wales only did it Tuesday.
Sport has the power to unite & inspire so it’s vital that all sporting events, such as the #FIFAWorldCup, are open & inclusive⁰⁰I’m wearing the #OneLove armband to support the LGBT community & send a positive message that everyone should feel welcome at all sport tournaments.— Stuart Andrew (@StuartAndrew) November 29, 2022
“We feel this is the biggest and we think it’s a strong statement that will go around the world for young people, in particular, to see that inclusivity is very important,” Southgate said.
Additionally, the U.K.’s first openly gay sports minister attended the game and wore the armband.
Stuart Andrew said he decided to wear it in support of inclusivity at sporting events.
“Sport has the power to unite & inspire,” Andrew wrote on Twitter, adding it was “vital” that all sporting events are open and inclusive.