Openly gay Sports Minister Stuart Andrew wears OneLove armband at Qatar World Cup

The openly gay Welsh minister honoured his promise to wear the inclusive armband at the Wales vs England match.

An image of openly gay sport minister Stuart Andrew wearing a pro-LGBTQ+ OneLove armband at the England vs Wales Qatar World Cup match.
Image: via twitter @twocitiesnickie

UK Sports Minister Stuart Andrew arrived at the Wales vs England Qatar World Cup match wearing an antidiscrimination OneLove armband.

Ahead of his appearance, Andrew took to Twitter to share his thoughts on wearing the impactful accessory, saying: “Sport has the power to unite & inspire so it’s vital that all sporting events, such as the #FIFAWorldCup, are open & inclusive.”

He continued, “I’m wearing the #OneLove armband to support the LGBT community and send a positive message that everyone should feel welcome at all sport tournaments.”

Football Supporters Association (FSA) Chair Malcolm Clarke responded to Andrew’s tweet offering his support and saying that “It is entirely appropriate that our Minister of Sport should attend this game, and that you should wear the armband. Sadly, some of our LGBT+ fans felt unable to attend the finals for obvious reasons. They in particular will appreciate you wearing the armband. Well done Minister”.

Political commentator Matthew Stadlen also shared his admiration, stating: “Good for @StuartAndrew, the Sports Minister, for wearing the OneLove armband in the stands at the England Wales game in Qatar. If tournaments are going to be held in countries with major human rights issues, then the opportunity to inspire change should be taken.”

Andrew’s display of support for the LGBTQ+ community is one of many attempts to protest the human rights issues that exist in Qatar.

Not only is homosexuality criminalised and punishable by imprisonment and even death under Sharia law, the state has also faced backlash for its treatment of migrant workers. According to the Secretary General of the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy at the Qatar World Cup, Hassan al-Thawadi, between 400-500 migrant workers died on projects related to the tournament.

These issues have prompted protests, and earlier this week, a pitch invader who ran onto the field during a game with a rainbow flag and ‘Save Ukraine’ t-shirt was banned from attending future Qatar World Cup matches.

Some fans are trying to show their support in more subtle ways for the LGBTQ+ community, by wearing rainbow articles of clothing. However, many have been confronted for sporting such items, and one English supporter was even reportedly subjected to an unnecessary strip search due to wearing rainbow colours.

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