It’s not every day Piers Morgan and the “virtue signallers” find themselves on the same side.
But hey, with this World Cup, anything is possible.
The outspoken presenter has added his voice to the clamours of outrage at the FA’s decision to scrap the ‘One Love’ armband from the tournament in Qatar, tweeting: “I'm not gay, but if I was, I'd be absolutely furious.”
England’s Harry Kane and Wales’s Gareth Bale were due to don the rainbow-coloured band on the pitch as a mark of support for LGBTQ+ rights. The symbol was set to carry significant weight because homosexuality is illegal in the Gulf State.
But on Monday morning the two British nations, along with five other European countries, released a statement confirming their team captains would not be championing ‘One Love’.
They announced: “FIFA has been very clear that it will impose sporting sanctions if our captains wear the armbands on the field of play.
"As national federations, we can’t put our players in a position where they could face sporting sanctions including bookings, so we have asked the captains not to attempt to wear the armbands in FIFA World Cup games.”
Critics have read this as a declaration that sporting success is more important to these organisations than human rights, with Morgan calling the whole thing a “mockery” of the principled stance the FA was purporting to take:
\u201cI'm not gay, but if I was, I'd be absolutely furious about this FA armband U-turn. Makes an absolute mockery of the whole 'we're going to speak out about human rights in Qatar rather than boycott it' stance.\u201d
\u201cAs per usual @piersmorgan completely misses the point. You don\u2019t have to be gay to be outraged by this\u201d
— Richard Brown \ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\udde6 \ud83d\udc99 (@Richard Brown \ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\udde6 \ud83d\udc99)
Kane had been set to wear the One Love armband against Iran on Monday afternoon, while Bale was due to wear it in the match against the United States later in the evening. Neither one has yet spoken out about the governing bodies' decision.
However, the offending countries attempted to defend themselves by insisting: “We were prepared to pay fines that would normally apply to breaches of kit regulations and had a strong commitment to wearing the armband. However, we cannot put our players in the situation where they might be booked or even forced to leave the field of play."
They added in their joint statement: “We are very frustrated by the FIFA decision which we believe is unprecedented – we wrote to FIFA in September informing them of our wish to wear the One Love armband to actively support inclusion in football, and had no response.
“Our players and coaches are disappointed – they are strong supporters of inclusion and will show support in other ways.”
We're looking forward to seeing what exactly those "other ways" are...
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