Eric Dier vows ‘I’ll stick to my values’ as England defy FIFA to wear ‘One Love’ armband at World Cup 2022

Eric Dier vows ‘I’ll stick to my values’ as England defy FIFA to wear ‘One Love’ armband at World Cup 2022

Eric Dier has vowed “I’ll stick to my values” after England’s renewed commitment to wearing the ‘One Love’ rainbow armband in support of LGBTQ+ rights at the World Cup in Qatar.

Qatar, which won the right to host the World Cup in 2010, is a fiercely conservative Muslim country and has outlawed LGBTQ+ relationships.

However, FIFA president Gianni Infantino has hit back at criticism from European football by insisting that they should be the ones apologising for their colonial past.

Ahead of England’s opening match against Iran on Monday, Dier has urged players to stick to what they believe in.

“A lot of things have already happened – a lot of things are very disappointing,” Dier said at England’s Al Wakrah training base. “Those will always be in my mind.

“But as a team, and individually, we carry certain values and no matter where we go we’ll carry those values. At the same time we’ll respect everywhere we go. It’s difficult for me to talk about that kind of situation.

“It’s a difficult situation for us. I was looking [into it] today because I thought I would probably get this kind of question. The World Cup was awarded to Qatar in 2010. I was 16 at the time.

“It’s very difficult for me to talk about it. We as players have absolutely no say in where we play. Those decisions are made by people way above us and we’re the ones who end up having to sit here answering these kind of questions. It’s a difficult situation for us.

“Every team is going to experience it throughout the whole tournament. It’s disappointing. For me individually, I carry the values I’ve been given by my family.

“What I’ve grown up with and how people have educated me, I carry those values wherever I go. At the same time, I respect wherever I go.

“So things have happened in the past, but as players we really have no influence on these kind of decisions. It’s a World Cup and it’s a World Cup I’m extremely proud to be a part of.

“We’re extremely proud to be here to represent our country, to play football. At the end of the day, we are footballers — we’re not politicians.”

The FA will face pressure from the authorities, possible fines and criticism from pro-Qatar lobby groups over their armband stance.

Dier, 28, mentioned the human rights concerns around the migrant workers said to have died - which some allege to have tallied 6,500 - in Qatar since the awarding of the World Cup.

 (The FA via Getty Images)
(The FA via Getty Images)

He added: “I’m talking about the building of the stadiums, obviously it’s a terrible situation.

“Of course, it’s taking away [from the experience], because we’re sitting here talking about it instead of talking about football, so of course, it’s taking a lot of that away for us.

“But we can’t hide from it, it’s here. It would be wrong to ignore it. And at the same time, we’re here to play football, I’m a footballer, I’m definitely not smart enough to be anything other than that.”

The Tottenham star is more confident than most in talking about the political situation surrounding his team.

In the mean time, he is proud to have fought his way back into England’s setup after Southgate left him out for almost two years. That left Dier worried that he might not ever make it back into the squad.

“I’d be lying if I said I didn’t think that was a possibility,” he concluded. “Obviously those thoughts go through your mind, when I missed out on the Euros squad, obviously one of the worst moments for me, in my career.

“But when I say that, I always say that I must have had a pretty good career if that’s one of the worst moments. I’m just grateful to be here now.”