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Gay sports minister proudly sports OneLove armband at Qatar World Cup just as he had promised

“I’m not going to shy away from who I am. Our message very much is that no one should have to hide who they are," he said.

Gay sports minister proudly sports OneLove armband at Qatar World Cup just as he had promised
DOHA, QATAR - NOVEMBER 29: Stuart Andrew, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Sport, Tourism, Heritage and Civil Society, wears an armband reading "One Love" prior to the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 (Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)

In Qatar, Stuart Andrew is sporting the OneLove armband. Stuart Andrew, the sports minister, defied FIFA regulations by attending the World Cup in Qatar while sporting the pro-LGBTQ+ OneLove armband and a rainbow tie. According to PinkNews, the gay Welsh minister donned the inclusive armband at the England vs. Wales game on Tuesday (November 29), but England triumphed 3-0. "Sport has the power to unite and inspire so it's vital all sporting events, such as the Fifa World Cup, are open and inclusive," Andrew said on Twitter before the game. “I’m wearing the #OneLove armband to support the LGBT community and send a positive message that everyone should feel welcome at all sports tournaments.”



 

 

As a result of FIFA's threat of sports fines, the Football Associations of England, Wales, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, and Switzerland have said they would not wear the OneLove armband as they had intended. Captains intended to promote LGBTQ+ rights by donning the OneLove armband. Harry Kane, the captain of the English FA, was set to get a fine for wearing the armband, but as the competition got going, it became clear that Kane may also get a yellow card. Hassan Al-Thawadi, the head of the Qatar World Cup, criticized the OneLove armband earlier this week, saying it sends a "very divisive message" to the Arab world. “It’s not a Qatari culture or Qatari religion, these values are regional. It’s for the Islamic world, the Arab world, the Middle East,” he stated.

MILAN, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 23: Harry Kane and Harry Maguire of England look on during the UEFA Nations League League A Group 3 match between Italy and England at San Siro on September 23, 2022 in Milan, Italy. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
MILAN, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 23: Harry Kane and Harry Maguire of England look on during the UEFA Nations League League A Group 3 match between Italy and England at San Siro on September 23, 2022 in Milan, Italy. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

 

Following Thawadi's remarks, Dr. Nas Mohamed—the first out homosexual man in Qatar—spoke to PinkNews and declared: "All of the ways we suffer in Qatar are not Islamic. “They are not part of our tradition. It is abuse we are being subjected to in the name of religion and tradition. LGBT rights are human rights. Our abuse does not belong anywhere. We must speak up for our rights everywhere.” Stuart Andrew previously discussed the pro-LGBTQ+ gesture, said that he would "not shy away" from who he is, and denounced FIFA's "pretty appalling" choice to forbid the armbands. “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.”



 

 

With the tagline "Football has the power to unite people," the OneLove campaign was launched in the Netherlands in 2020 with the aim of promoting diversity and anti-discrimination. The phrase was inspired by anti-apartheid champion Nelson Mandela, who in 2000 said: “Sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire. It has the power to unite people in a way that little else does, according to SBS. "Sport can create hope where once there was only despair. It is more powerful than governments in breaking down racial barriers. It laughs in the face of all types of discrimination.” According to KNVB, the Royal Dutch Football Association, the band's design symbolizes "everyone's pride of their heritage, race, gender identity, and sexual orientation."

DOHA, QATAR - NOVEMBER 29: Stuart Andrew, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Sport, Tourism, Heritage and Civil Society, wears an armband reading
DOHA, QATAR - NOVEMBER 29: Stuart Andrew, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Sport, Tourism, Heritage and Civil Society, wears an armband reading "One Love" prior to the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Group B match between Wales and England at Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium on November 29, 2022 in Doha, Qatar. (Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)

 

Craig Foster, a former Socceroo, and human rights advocate charged FIFA with "disgracefully" shutting down "players' freedom of speech" during the Qatar World Cup by threatening to send captains sporting the OneLove band to the with a yellow card. The remarks came after a guy holding a rainbow flag protested on the pitch during Tuesday's Portugal vs. Uruguay game at Qatar's Lusail Stadium. Foster charged FIFA with applying different criteria depending on whether the issue included Black Lives Matter or Ukraine activism. Foster claimed that LGBTI advocacy was not acceptable. He criticized the "censorship that has occurred" of the national teams and players in the competition, saying that it is "something that simply shouldn't be acceptable."

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