The Football Association lit up the Wembley Stadium arch in rainbow colours following the OneLove armband controversy.
On 20 November, the Qatar World Cup officially commenced, with teams from all around the world congregating in the Gulf region.
However in the years leading up to the tournament, activists, fans and football professionals have expressed concerns over its location due to the country’s shocking treatment of LGBTQ+ citizens.
In Qatar, homosexuality is illegal and can be punished by penalties including flogging, imprisonment and even execution.
As a way to show solidarity for the LGBTQ+ community, captains from England, Denmark, Switzerland, Netherlands, and Germany football teams announced that they would be wearing the OneLove rainbow armband to showcase their support for LGBTQ+ rights.
However on 21 November, the teams announced that they would no longer be wearing the inclusive band in a joint statement with the FA.
“FIFA has been very clear that it will impose sporting sanctions if our captains wear the armbands on the field of play,” the teams revealed.
“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.”
In response to the ban, the FA lit up Wembley Stadium’s arch in rainbow colours ahead of England’s match against the USA team.
Football has the power to bring people together. It is a game for all.
We will continue to show our support to the LGBTQ+ community – during and long beyond this tournament.
— The FA (@FA) November 25, 2022
“Tonight, as the Three Lions take on USA, we are lighting the Wembley Stadium arch in rainbow colours to show our support for the inclusivity within our game. Football is For All,” they wrote.
The aforementioned gesture comes a couple of days after Germany protested FIFA’s ban ahead of their game against Japan.
Before the match, the team posed for a photo in which they were shown covering their mouths.
“We wanted to use our captain’s armband to take a stand for values that we hold in the Germany national team: diversity and mutual respect. Together with other nations, we wanted our voice to be heard,” stated the German side’s official Twitter page.
“Denying us the armband is the same as denying us a voice. We stand by our position.”
Despite the team captains facing pushback from FIFA, the OneLove armband has still made its way to the controversial tournament.
On 21 November, former Lioness Alex Scott bravely wore the rainbow piece on her arm during the BBC press coverage of England’s first match.
German Federal Minister of the Interior and Community Nancy Faeser also wore the band while attending Germany’s match.
The 2022 FIFA World Cup is set to continue until 18 December.