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Alex Scott praised for wearing One Love armband during row over Qatar gay rights protest

Alex Scott sported a One Love armband while presenting coverage of England's first game, in defiance of the ban under threat of a yellow card for team captains planning to wear it (BBC Sport)
Alex Scott sported a One Love armband while presenting coverage of England's first game. (BBC Sport)

Alex Scott has won praise for wearing the OneLove armband while presenting coverage of England's opening game against Iran at the Qatar World Cup.

On Monday morning, the England and Wales FAs backed down and decided not to wear OneLove armbands after global football governing body FIFA threatened "sporting sanctions" for captains Harry Kane and Gareth Bale.

The pair had planned to wear the distinctive armbands as a sign of their support of gay rights and in support of human rights, along with Belgium, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands and Switzerland. They were told they would be handed yellow cards if they did so.

Homosexuality is illegal in Qatar and controversy has surrounded the country's record on human rights.

However, pundit Scott made a statement live on air as she sported the armband while presenting coverage ahead of Monday's game.

The former Arsenal and England player was celebrated on social media for her stance.

"Alex Scott you legend," wrote Ali Tweedale.

The Pride in Football account - a network of LGBT+ fan groups across the UK - tweeted: "England may not be wearing the #OneLove armband, but AlexScott is right now on BBC.

"This is more than just LGBTQ+ rights, this is Human Rights."

Scott was praised on social media for taking a stand by wearing the distinctive armband (Twitter)
Scott was praised on social media for taking a stand by wearing the distinctive armband (Twitter)

Podcaster Roger Bennett said: "FIFA may have banned England from wearing a Pride Armband on field at the World Cup, but English analyst Alex Scott is wearing it on the sideline as she broadcasts to the Nation. Positivity 1 Dystopia 0."

On Sunday, Gary Lineker opened the BBC's coverage of the tournament by highlighting some of the issues faced by the hosts.

The first half-hour of the BBC's coverage focused on the controversy around Qatar's hosting of football's showpiece tournament, including the nation's human rights record, treatment of migrant workers and highlighting the ban on homosexuality in the host nation.

"It's the most controversial World Cup in history and a ball hasn't been kicked," Lineker said.

On Saturday, Fifa president Gianni Infantino delivered a bizarre hour-long speech in a pre-tournament press conference in Doha in which he declared “today I feel gay” and “I feel (like) a migrant worker” before taking aim at European critics of Qatar.

Following his comments, Scott said: "I'm trying to understand, you brought a World Cup here and I’m trying to understand about a culture.

"I’m trying to understand everything – the whole context of what’s going on and what the FIFA president said yesterday is to me confusing and absolutely bizarre. How you can say "today I am a migrant worker"? No, you are not and you never will be."