If leadership in football has looked short in recent days, Leah Williamson can help to provide an antidote. The England captain says the staging of the men’s World Cup in Qatar is “wrong” but wants to use her voice to highlight the discrimination of LGBTQ+ people in the host country, while promoting messages of inclusion and equality closer to home.Armbands, and England’s decision not to follow through with their ‘OneLove’ stance following pressure from Fifa, has been the hot topic of the opening days of the World Cup.
In July, Williamson proudly wore her rainbow armband in support of LGBTQ+ rights as the Lionesses won the Euros at Wembley. It was a victory that stood for more than football, celebrated in an environment that was inclusive and diverse.“I think one of the biggest compliments I’ve had since the Euros is someone went to one of our games when they were afraid to go to a men’s game,” Williamson tells The Indepdendent. “I wouldn’t want anyone to feel like it wasn’t their game.
We wanted to show that supporting England is an open invitation to be exactly who you want to be, because that’s what we do too.”The contrast to Qatar could not be clearer.
While the Lionesses were inviting LGBTQ+ fans to support the team, this World Cup has made them feel like they have been turned away.Read more on independent.co.uk