BBC Sports Presenter Jack Murley has called out FIFA after the Football governing body threatened to sanction any sports team who wore pro-LGBTQ+ “OneLove” armbands at the Qatar World Cup while describing England and Wales’ decision not to wear them as a “cop-out.”

Murley, who is the presenter of the BBC’s LGBTQ+ Sports Podcast, made the statement on BBC 5 Live when it was confirmed that England, Wales and other European nations would not wear the OneLove armbands in Qatar, sighting a decision by FIFA that would see sanctions imposed should players don the armbands during the competition.

“It feels like a bit of a gut punch to me to hear that a symbol of who you are being OK can get you booked at football’s greatest tournament,” Murley explained. “That is an extraordinary place to arrive at in 2022.”


FIFA’s decision which was condemned by many was defended by fellow broadcaster Nicky Campbell who said some would argue the pro-LGBTQ+ armbands breach the “rules about what players can and can’t wear on the pitch,” – referring to an obscure FIFA rule that mentions the banning of offensive materials being donned by players.  

However, Murley took another stance, arguing: “that’s a bit of a cop-out, isn’t it?”

“Because FIFA have come out with their own armbands, which they’re promoting actively that they worn at different times.”

“The armbands FIFA have proposed say ‘#NoDiscrimination’. So we got a OneLove one with a rainbow that says we think there should be no discrimination, and FIFA says, ‘You’ll be booked for that, but you can wear ours that says #NoDiscrimination,’” Murley continued.

“I think you have to look at what this is really all about, and the context is this is a World Cup being held in a place where the LGBTQ+ community is criminalised and executed.”

“This was a small symbol to say, ‘That isn’t okay. Being who you are and loving who you love is fine’. And that symbol is resulting in a booking.” 

“I think that’s going to be very hard in 2022 for the LGBTQ+ community to get by.”

Following FIFA’s announcement and the decision not to don the armbands, The Football Supporters’ Association, representing fans in England and Wales, released a statement saying they felt “betrayed.”

“To paraphrase FIFA president Gianni Infantino – today LGBT+ football supporters and their allies will feel angry,” it said.

“Today, we feel betrayed. Today we feel contempt for an organisation that has shown its true values by giving the yellow card to players and the red card to tolerance.”

“Never again should a World Cup be handed out solely on the basis of money and infrastructure. No country which falls short on LGBT+ rights, women’s rights, worker’s rights or any other universal human right should be given the honour of hosting a World Cup.”

“Since 2010, we have been raising questions about the suitability of Qatar as a World Cup host. Everyone could see this coming, and it’s astonishing that, on the morning of England’s World Cup opener, FIFA is trying to censor players for sharing a positive message.”