BBC presenter Alex Scott supported the LGBTQ+ community at the Qatar World Cup by wearing a OneLove armband. On 20 November, the controversial tournament officially commenced, with the first match taking place between Qatar and Ecuador.
In the years leading up to the World Cup, fans, activists and football professionals have expressed concerns over its Gulf Region location due to the country’s treatment of the LGBTQ+ community.
In Qatar, homosexuality is illegal and can be punished by penalties including flogging, imprisonment and even execution. Due to the country’s anti-LGBTQ+ laws, captains from England, Denmark, Switzerland, Netherlands, and Germany football teams announced that they would be wearing the rainbow OneLove armband in support of the community.
However on 21 November, the aforementioned teams announced that they would no longer wear the band due to possible 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,” they said in a statement. “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 aforementioned teams backed out of the LGBTQ+ inclusive gesture, another football professional ended up wearing the OneLove band in the Khalifa International Stadium.