One Irish cousin of England's captain Harry Kane has spoken out after the English soccer team, among others, abandoned their plans to wear 'OneLove' armbands in support of LGBT+ rights.
Kane's second cousin Patrick Fitzgerald, from Caherline, Co Limerick, told the Irish Mirror: "He stood up for the rights, but they are in the wrong country for protests to be allowed. It’s very strict over there."
“Harry wanted to wear the [rainbow] armband, but he won’t let it distract him now. He’ll put it all to one side for the matches.”
Fitzgerald added: “He made a stance, he raised the issue, he made the point. He did his best.”
England's football team had until just a few days ago planned to wear the OneLove armbands supporting the LGBT+ community in their kick-off game at the Qatar 2022 World Cup. Eight other teams were also set to wear the OneLove armbands.
We are uniting with nine other European countries in support of OneLove, a campaign that will use the power of football to promote inclusion and send a message against discrimination.— England (@England) September 21, 2022
However, before Monday's England - Iran match, the nine nations announced in a joint statement that they would not be wearing the OneLove armbands amidst threats of sanctions from FIFA.
"FIFA has been very clear that it will impose sporting sanctions if our captains wear the armbands on the field of play," the statement said, hours before England's match against Iran was due to kick off in Doha.
"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."
While the OneLove armband was nixed, Kane did sport a "No to Discriminatinon" armband.
England beat Iran 6 - 2 on Monday and after the game, Kane explained why he did not wear the OneLove armband.
"It's out of our control as players. I'm sure the FA and FIFA will continue those discussions but most importantly today we focused on the game."
He added: "You've seen over the last five years we've made a stand as a squad, and we'll continue to do that as much as we can. We took a knee today as well but sometimes these decisions aren't up to us and that's the bottom line."
Harry Kane was 'disappointed' by FIFA's decision to ban the OneLove armband 🗣— GOAL News (@GoalNews) November 21, 2022
LGBT rights in Qatar
Meanwhile, Qatar's conservative regime has been clamping down on pro-LGBT football fans with rainbow bucket hats, T-shirts and flags during the World Cup. In Qatar, LGBT people face a punishment of up to three years in prison and a fine.
On Monday night, former Wales football team captain Laura McAllister was among football fans who were "told to take off their rainbow bucket hats" at the Qatari stadium. Men, however, were allowed to keep them on.
US football reporter Grant Wahl was stopped by security at the same match and ordered to take off his rainbow T-shirt. He refused, and the Qatari officials questioned him before they eventually backed down. One security guard told him that they were protecting him from fans who might have attacked him for wearing the rainbow shirt.
Just now: Security guard refusing to let me into the stadium for USA-Wales. “You have to change your shirt. It’s not allowed.” pic.twitter.com/TvSGThMYq8— Subscribe to GrantWahl.com (@GrantWahl) November 21, 2022