World Cup: Gay UK sports minister Stuart Andrew defiantly wears OneLove armband

Stuart Andrew (R), the Welsh Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Sport, Tourism, Heritage and Civil Society, wears a rainbow armband and a rainbow tie while attending the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group B football match between Wales and England at the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium in Al-Rayyan, west of Doha on November 29, 2022. (Photo by Ina Fassbender / AFP) (Photo by INA FASSBENDER/AFP via Getty Images)
Stuart Andrew, right, wears a rainbow armband and tie while attending the England-Wales match in Doha on Tuesday. (Getty Images)

UK sports minister Stuart Andrew defiantly wore the OneLove armband on Tuesday night, hours before Fifa gave assurances that rainbow items could be worn at World Cup stadiums.

Andrew donned the anti-discrimination armband in the stands as he watched England's victory over Wales, a result that put Gareth Southgate's side into the last 16.

Before England's last group stage clash, the openly-gay Conservative frontbencher had said it was "really unfair" that football's governing body had prevented the captains of England and Wales wearing the armband at the 11th hour.

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Seven European countries, including England and Wales, had abandoned plans earlier in the tournament to wear the anti-discrimination symbol after Fifa threatened sporting sanctions.

Andrew's decision to wear the rainbow armband risked the wrath of Qatari organisers, with homosexuality still illegal in the emirate.

On Wednesday, Fifa finally gave the green light that rainbow items and banners supporting protests in Iran would be allowed into stadiums without incident.

DOHA, QATAR - NOVEMBER 29: Stuart Andrew, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Sport, Tourism, Heritage and Civil Society, wears an armband reading
Andrew sings the national anthem at the England-Wales clash. (Getty Images)

"Fifa is aware of some incidents where permitted items were not allowed to be displayed at stadiums," football’s world body said in a statement.

"Fifa has received assurances by authorities that venue commanders have been contacted in relation to the agreed rules and regulations for the FifaWorld Cup Qatar 2022.

"Fifa continues to work closely with the host country to ensure the full implementation of related regulations and agreed protocols."

World Cup fans have faced a host of issues at stadiums, involving items such as banners and hats, after a Fifa clampdown.

This week, Qatar's World Cup organising committee chief accused nations who wanted to wear the OneLove armband in Doha of sending a "very divisive message" to the Islamic and Arab world.

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Hassan al-Thawadi, secretary general of the supreme World Cup committee for delivery and legacy, said: "If the teams decided to do it throughout the entire season, that is one thing.

"But if you're coming to make a point, or a statement in Qatar, that is something I have an issue with. And it goes back to the simple fact that this is a part of the world that has its own set of values.

"This is not Qatar I'm talking about, it's the Arab world. For the teams to come and preach or make statements, that's fine. But what you're essentially saying is you're protesting an Islamic country hosting an event.

"Where does that end? Does that mean no Islamic country can never be able to participate in anything?"

Watch: England fans rejoice as Three Lions roar into last 16