England will take the knee at the World Cup in Qatar, Gareth Southgate has confirmed.

It’s “what we stand for as a team and what we’ve been doing for a long time,” he said.

The Three Lions didn’t make the anti-racism gesture in their games against Germany and Italy in September, but they will when they face Iran in their Group B opener tomorrow.

“We discussed taking the knee,” Southgate told a press conference in Doha. “We think we should.”

Before the start of the season, Premier League captains decided to limit the knee hold to certain matches, including Boxing Day and the FA Cup and Carabao Cup finals.

“Of course we understand in the Premier League that clubs have decided to only do it for certain games, the big occasions,” Southgate said.

“We think that’s most important and we think that’s a strong statement that will go around the world for young people, in particular, to see that inclusivity is very important.”

Speaking at an earlier press conference, Wales boss Rob Page was asked if FIFA tried to stop his team from wearing an armband in support of LGBTQ+ rights .

Page replied, “No, we said the One Love armband is what we’ll be wearing and it’s no different for us.”

England captain Harry Kane will also wear the armband in the game against Iran.

Image:
Part of the opening ceremony at Al Bayt Stadium
Qatar World Cup Opening Ceremony

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Football’s world governing body FIFA has asked players to wear a different armband with the message #FootballUnitesTheWorld.

According to the Laws of the Game, found on the International Football Association Board’s website, “equipment” must not have “political, religious or personal slogans, statements or images”.

During the opening ceremony this afternoon, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, the Emir of Qatar, said: “From Qatar, from the Arab world, I welcome everyone to the 2022 World Cup” .

“How beautiful that people can put aside what divides them to celebrate their diversity and what brings them together.”

The great debate

After speaking, fireworks exploded from the roof of Al Bayt Stadium, about 30 miles north of the capital, Doha.

In the opening game of the tournament, Qatar was beaten 2-0 by Ecuador.

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