Alex Scott has been praised by football fans after she wore a “One Love” armband during the BBC’s coverage of the World Cup just hours after Fifa threatened sporting sanctions against players who did so.
On Monday morning, England, Wales and other European countries who had been set to wear the anti-discrimination armbands at the tournament in Qatar u-turned on their decision after Fifa said that they would introduce yellow cards to players who opted to wear them during matches.
The armbands were intended “to promote inclusion and send a message against discrimination of any kind”. In Qatar, same-sex relationships are illegal.
Former Lioness and England captain Alex was seen sporting the armband during a pitch-side discussion with Kelly Somers ahead of England’s opening World Cup match against Iran.
Alex made no mention of her armband but her powerful statement did not go unnoticed by fans watching.
A joint statement from seven national Football Associations, including the English and Welsh FAs, about the armbands said they could not put their players “in a position where they could face sporting sanctions”.
The statement read: “We are very frustrated by the Fifa decision which we believe is unprecedented.
“Fifa has been very clear that it will impose sporting sanctions if our captains wear the armbands on the field of play.
“We were prepared to pay fines that would normally apply to breaches of kit regulations and had a strong commitment to wearing the armband.
“However, we cannot put our players in the situation where they might be booked or even forced to leave the field of play.
“Our players and coaches are disappointed – they are strong supporters of inclusion and will show support in other ways.”
Captains of teams are allowed to wear “No Discrimination” armbands for the duration of the World Cup.
On Sunday, Alex spoke about LGBT rights in Qatar during the opening of the BBC’s coverage of the World Cup.
She said: “A whole heap of fans from around the world from the LGBTQ+ community not wanting to travel here…
“We reference (FIFA president) Gianni Infantino from what he said… you are not gay, you will never understand travelling to a country where you are fearing for your life just because of who you choose to love.
“To keep saying football is for everyone, we sit here and it’s not, because people have not been able to travel to watch their teams, to support their teams, out of fear.”
Infantino delivered an hour-long speech in a pre-tournament press conference in Doha in which he declared “today I feel gay” and “I feel (like) a migrant worker” before taking aim at European critics of Qatar.