'Just a bit of PR' - Roy Keane and Ian Wright have their final say on OneLove armband U-turn
"Stick to your guns."
Roy Keane, Ian Wright and Gary Neville have said that England should have worn the OneLove armband at the World Cup.
The Three Lions, Wales and several other European nations had planned to wear the special captain's armband at the tournament in Qatar, a country where homosexuality is illegal, as a show of support for LGBTQ people.
Yet, on the morning of England's opening match against Iran, the team decided not to go ahead with the gesture. The English Football Association confirmed that FIFA had told them that they would face 'sporting sanctions' if captain Harry Kane wore the armband.
Wright, Keane and Neville have final say on OneLove armband.
At the time, several pundits criticised the FA for backtracking on the issue. In an attempt to explain their stance, FA CEO Mark Bellingham spoke to ITV ahead of England's second group game against the United States.
Bellingham said that the organisation did not want to put the England players in a position where they could be punished. Wright, Neville and Keane, however, did not agree and said that they should have ignored Fifa's threat.
Wright said that 'there is no protest without risk'.
"Our biggest frustration is that the community we wanted to show support for feel let down. We just felt we couldn’t put the players in that position."@gabrielclarke05 sat down with @FA CEO Mark Bullingham to talk about the One Love armband.#ITVFootball | #FIFAWorldCup pic.twitter.com/C49q1aLTEX
— ITV Football (@itvfootball) November 25, 2022
"If Fifa as an organisation turned up at England a few hours before a game, mob-handed, threatening what they can do, I'm sure that's going to frighten them a little bit," Wright said.
"They decided to do it before the tournament, and for me, I'm going to stand by what I said a couple of nights ago that there's no protest without risk.
"There's nothing more I can say. I wanted them to wear it. They didn't wear it. And now the FA have given their reasons why they couldn't do it... I'm done with it. I'm done with it."
Neville echoed those words, saying: "If you say you're going to something, you follow through with it."
Meanwhile, Keane said Bellingham's interview were merely an exercise in 'PR' and that the players should have accepted whatever punishment came their way for the gesture.
"The interview there with the FA was obviously just a bit of PR," Keane said.
"But, yeah, I agree, if the players felt that strongly about it, I don't think they would have been deducted points.
"All of these sanctions, obviously there's been a threat, but if the players strongly believe in it, they've been talking about it for a long time, stick to your guns. I think the players should take that punishment."
- Harry Kane explains why he didn't wear One Love armband in World Cup opener.
- German FA considering legal action against FIFA over OneLove armband.
- Roy Keane takes cut off England and Wales for 'One Love' armband U-turn.