By Anne Akers
Pudsey MP Stuart Andrew, who was appointed Sports Minister in September, will tonight watch the England v Wales match in Qatar wearing a rainbow-coloured One Love armband, showing support for the LGBTQ+ community.
Mr Andrew, who is gay, told the London Evening Standard that he was determined to make this gesture, even though it could upset Fifa, the world cup football governing body. It was due to their ruling that players who wore the armbands would be penalised, that the England and Wales teams didn’t wear them, though they had planned to.
“I’m not going to shy away from who I am. Our message very much is that no-one should have to hide who they are,” he told the Evening Standard.
Qatar’s World Cup has been at the centre of storm over LGBTQ rights as it forbids same-sex relations.
Denmark’s former Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt and Germany’s interior minister Nancy Faeser wore the armband in the stands during their countries’ opening games last week.
Mr Andrew, who is also an equalities minister, told the Evening Standard that as a gay man he was in a “unique position” to send a message of solidarity to LGBTQ fans who didn’t feel safe or comfortable to travel to Qatar for World Cup.