Britain’s sports minister Stuart Andrew will wear the rainbow-coloured armband that FIFA prohibited players from using at the World Cup when he attends England’s clash with Wales in Qatar on Tuesday.
England and Wales were among seven European teams who abandoned plans to wear the anti-discrimination symbol after being threatened with sporting sanctions by world football’s governing body.
German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser wore the “OneLove” armband while sat next to FIFA president Gianni Infantino for Germany’s shock 2-1 defeat by Japan.
Homosexuality is illegal in Qatar and there were multiple reports of fans having rainbow-coloured items conviscated by security during the first round of games.
“I will most definitely be wearing the ‘OneLove’ armband,” Andrew, who is gay, told ITV News.
“I want to show support and I was delighted to see that the German minister who attended a recent match has worn it, I think it is important that I do so.
“And I think it’s been really unfair on the England and Welsh team that at the 11th hour they were stopped by FIFA from doing it.”
England fan group “3LionsPride”, which represents the LGBTQ community, said before the tournament that their members would not travel to Qatar for the tournament.
“These games should be a celebration show and for all football fans to enjoy. But sadly so many of them are feeling that these are not,” Andrew added.
“This is not a tournament for them. I met with LGBT football supporters, and it was really distressing to see actually how emotional they got that they couldn’t be.
“They didn’t feel they could be part of this and that is not acceptable.”