Don’t miss any of the latest and best Spurs news – sign up to the free Tottenham newsletter for updates straight to your inbox
The wearing of the OneLove armband has been just one of the issues that has overshadowed the start of the World Cup in Qatar. It is a World Cup that has been making headlines for all the wrong reasons.
England, on the pitch, were making waves for the right ones as they began their tournament in dream fashion – thrashing Iran 6-2 in Group B. Bukayo Saka netted twice, with Jude Belllingham, Raheem Sterling, Marcus Rashford and Jack Grealish also getting in on the scoring act.
But all the talk ahead of the match in Qatar was over the OneLove armband. Skipper Harry Kane had confirmed he would wear it, to show support for the LGBTQ+ community, but after FIFA threatened players from countries who wore it with a yellow card, the FA, as well as six other European countries who had agreed to make a stand for LGBTQ+ rights, decided against doing so.
After the win over Iran, Kane was questioned on the OneLove armband. He said: “I said yesterday we wanted to wear it. That decision was taken out of my hands today. I turned up to the stadium with the armband that I wore and I was told I had to wear that [the official FIFA one]. 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 and got a great result.”
Among the other countries who had agreed to wear it were the Netherlands, who kicked off their World Cup campaign with a win over Senegal on Tuesday. Liverpool captain Virgil van Dijk had intimated that if there were other sanctions he may be forced to reconsider, and he, like the others, did not wear it in their opening match.
The move to not wear it has been widely criticised, with many supporters feeling that a yellow card was an acceptable punishment for standing up for what you believe in.
And one Dutch player made his feelings clear after the Netherlands’ win over Senegal. Marten de Roon came off the bench against the African side and posted a photo on his Twitter account after the game, with the players in the shot superimposed with OneLove armbands on all their arms. The caption read: “One love for this victory! What a start.”