‘Big mistake’ – Man Utd legend Keane criticises England captain Kane over OneLove armband snub

Joe Williams
Roy Keane speaks about England captain Harry Kane

Manchester United legend Roy Keane thinks England captain Harry Kane should’ve worn the OneLove armband despite FIFA warnings.

On the day the Three Lions kicked off their World Cup campaign with a 6-2 win over Iran, a joint statement from seven European nations who had signed up to the OneLove campaign – which included England and Wales – confirmed the armbands would no longer be worn due to fear of a yellow card being issued.

The band contains the rainbow colours associated with the Pride flag and had been set to be a strong statement in Qatar, a country which criminalises same-sex relationships.

Kane instead wore FIFA’s ‘No discrimination’ armband – which is not rainbow coloured – after the organising body brought forward its own campaign on Saturday for the finals in Qatar.

The Tottenham striker had previously sported the OneLove armband in UEFA matches this season after the participating nations were given permission but he was unable to do so at the Khalifa International Stadium.

But former Man Utd captain Keane insisted that Kane and Wales captain Gareth Bale should’ve “stuck to their guns and done it” despite warnings from FIFA.

“I think the players could have done it for the first game and took the punishment, whatever that might be,” Keane told ITV.

“Obviously you’re risking Kane if he gets a yellow card if that was going to be the punishment but that would have been a great statement.

“Do it for the first game, you get your yellow card, what a message that would have been from Kane or Bale take your medicine and then the next game you move on. You don’t wear it because obviously you don’t want to be suspended.

“I think it was a big mistake, I think both players particularly when we are talking about Wales and England they should have stuck to their guns and done it, whatever pressure outside or their own associations. If that’s what you believe go with it.”

Addressing the issue, Kane said: “We’re disappointed.

“I said yesterday we wanted to wear it. That decision was taken out of my hands today. I turned up to the stadium with the armband that I wore and I was told I had to wear that [FIFA’s version].

“It’s out of our control as players. I’m sure the FA and FIFA will continue those discussions but most importantly today we focused on the game and got a great result.”

Gareth Southgate also had his say in England’s post-match press conference, he added: “It’s not something that the players or myself have been involved in in the last 24 hours, those discussions have been ongoing between several European nations and FIFA.

“I actually do understand FIFA’s situation in that you can set a precedent and it’s very difficult then, where do you draw the line? I think in a ideal world it would have been a much clearer situation earlier, but it’s not something that’s been a distraction for us because, as I said yesterday, we had to focus on the football.”

READ MORE: One Love? One kick in the teeth after another at this World Cup for queer football fans