The FA has said it will pay any possible fine it’s hit with over Harry Kane wearing the ‘One Love’ armband at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
Star striker and England captain Kane is set to wear a multi-coloured armband – which is intended to promote inclusivity, campaign against discrimination, and show support to the LGBTQ+ community – once football’s flagship international tournament kicks-off this Sunday.
He is one of several national team captains expected to wear the armband – along with Wales, Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, Denmark, and Switzerland.
But due to the World Cup host country’s anti-LGBTQ+ views, and with homosexuality illegal in Qatar under Islamic Sharia law, FA chief executive Mark Bullingham has told Sky News that they are braced to be punished and will “pay the fine” should it be handed to them.
It comes after the FA sent a request to wear the armband at the tournament two months ago, but, in an interview at the England training camp in Qatar this week, Mr Bullingham revealed that FIFA still “haven’t given us any response”.
While the armband does not directly referencing anti-LGBT laws, as mentioned, it is intended to promote inclusivity, and FIFA is known for usually prohibiting the addition of unsanctioned slogans on player’s kits during tournaments.
The body even recently urged teams at not to indulge in giving morality lessons at the first World Cup in the Middle East.
Yet the FA is determined to “show our values”.
Speaking to Sky News, FA chief executive Mark Bullingham explained: “[FIFA] haven’t given us any response to our letter. I think there’s a possibility that we might be fined. And if we are, then we’ll pay the fine.
“We think it’s really important to show our values… and that’s what we’ll be doing.”
The FA says it has had assurances LGBTQ+ fans would be safe to attend the World Cup, and would not discriminated against by Qatari authorities, yet Mr Bullingham says it’s saddening to hear that some have decided against making the trip.
“It’s sad for us that quite a few of our LGBTQ fans have decided not to come,” he said.
“I know a lot of our Three Lions Pride members are not coming, and that was frustrating because they didn’t get the information they wanted in time to make their arrangements.”
As well as showing support with the ‘One Love’ armband, the FA says it will use its presence in Qatar to pursue more compensation for families of low-paid workers and help to establish a permanent migrant worker centre – with Mr Bullingham saying he believes there has been “really positive progress” with what’s been achieved over the last four years.
He concluded: “What’s critical for us though, is these last two outstanding issues should be brought through, and we’ll be putting a lot of pressure on FIFA, together with a bunch of other European countries to do that.”
The Three Lions’ first game against Iran is on 21 November, with their second group game against the USA taking place on 25 November.
The final clash of the group stage coming against Wales on 29 November.
Featured Image – England
Police issue update after Sterling flies home from World Cup following home invasion
Surrey Police have issued an update following Raheem Sterling’s home invasion that has forced the England international to fly home from the 2022 World Cup.
The former Manchester City star was left out of the Three Lions squad against Senegal due to a “family matter” on Sunday before the exact circumstances were confirmed shortly after.
Authorities have now verified that hundreds of thousands of pounds of goods had been stolen from the property but that, fortunately, “no threat of violence was involved”.
Sterling flew just hours after hearing of the break-in at his home Leatherhead home where he lives with his fiancé and two children.
Manager Gareth Southgate could not confirm whether the Chelsea player will be returning to the squad, insisting that, obviously, “the priority is for him to be with his family” and that they will “give him as much time as he needs”.
The police force said in a statement: “We are currently investigating a report of a burglary at an address in Oxshott, Leatherhead.
“Police were contacted just before 9pm on Saturday, December 3rd after the occupants of the property came home and discovered a number of items including jewellery and watches had been stolen.
“Inquiries to establish the circumstances are underway and the investigation is ongoing. No threat of violence was involved as the items were discovered stolen retrospectively. Inquiries into the circumstances are ongoing.”
Grealish holds his hands up over Almirón dig: ‘I do stupid stuff’
Jack Grealish has finally held his hands up after mocking Miguel Almirón, assuring that while he has made mistakes in career, he has a “good heart”.
Speaking to the media at the national camp in Qatar, the footballer was asked about his now-infamous dig at the Newcastle player, quipping that teammate Riyad Mahrez “played like Almirón” in a sub-par performance during Manchester City‘s 2021/22 title-winning match back in May.
Ironically, Grealish‘s Almiron joke has preceded an incredible run of form from the winger this year, arguably being their player of the season with eight goals to his name already.
Despite the 28-year-old insisting he has “never really paid attention” to what people say about him, he will have inevitably seen the viral clip.
Nevertheless, the England and City star took accountability for the unnecessary outburst, confessing, “I do stupid stuff, that was one”, whilst assuring: “Obviously I’ve done stupid stuff in my life but I think everything that I do good is from my heart.”
The 27-year-old went on to say that describe his Premier League peer as a “great player”, adding: “what a guy… if that was me and somebody had said that about me, I’d have probably been the other way and been like: ‘f*** it'”.
While he said he didn’t think the drunken video would go public, he knows it wasn’t the most professional of moments and that not only is he “buzzing” to see Almirón playing so well but that he will be sure to “show him the most respect” the next time they meet on the pitch.