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News Every Day |

England squad ‘to fly to Qatar World Cup on LGBTQ Pride plane’

A Virgin Atlantic A350 Airbus, featuring Rain Bow ahead of departure at Birmingham airport. The plane called 'Rain Bow' is believed to be carrying the England?s World Cup squad to Qatar. Picture date: Tuesday November 15, 2022. PA Photo. See PA story SOCCER England. Photo credit should read: Joe Giddens/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Use subject to restrictions. Editorial use only, no commercial use without prior consent from rights holder.
The aircraft features a picture of Oscar, a cartoon man wearing rainbow-coloured trainers (Picture: PA)

England’s World Cup squad are to fly to Qatar aboard a Pride-themed jet.

The 26-strong team will travel on ‘Rain Bow’, a Virgin Atlantic A350 Airbus, the Sun reports.

It features a motif of Oscar — Virgin’s LGBTQ+ icon who wears rainbow-coloured laces— beneath the aircraft’s cabin.

Qatar’s strict anti-LGBTQ+ rules – authorities consider the cohabitation of unmarried women and men a crime – have come under the spotlight ever since the country was announced as the tournament’s host nation.

World Cup organisers have said that anyone, regardless of sexual orientation, can come ‘without fear of any sort of repercussions.’

But one official warned rainbow flags could be confiscated to protect fans from being attacked for promoting gay rights.

England’s decision to fly aboard ‘Rain Bow’ in an act of defiance comes after the US Men’s National Soccer team also issued a clear red card to homophobia.

The team has showcased its support for the LGBTQ community with a rainbow-colored team logo at their training facility in Ar-Rayyan.

A Virgin Atlantic A350 Airbus, featuring Rain Bow ahead of departure at Birmingham airport. The plane called 'Rain Bow' is believed to be carrying the England???s World Cup squad to Qatar. Picture date: Tuesday November 15, 2022. PA Photo. See PA story SOCCER England. Photo credit should read: Joe Giddens/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Use subject to restrictions. Editorial use only, no commercial use without prior consent from rights holder.
The Three Lions will make the seven-hour flight to Doha on a ‘Rain Bow’ plane (Picture: PA)
England's 26-strong team met with Prince William ahead of the World Cup (Picture: PA)
England’s 26-strong team met with Prince William ahead of the World Cup (Picture: PA)

With the days counting down until the World Cup, Amnesty International say that human rights abuses in Qatar ‘persist on a significant scale’.

Many football fans have decided to boycott the tournament and will not watch any games in protest.

England and Arsenal defender Lotte Wubben-Moy has said she will not watch the men’s World Cup because of Qatar’s laws which make homosexuality punishable by death.

She said: ‘I personally will be supporting the men’s team, but I won’t be watching. I think it’s hard to talk about. But at the end of the day, we’re one team here at England and we know that they have an opportunity to play at a World Cup. It’s hard to look beyond that really.’

Soccer Football - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 - United States Press Conference - Al Gharrafa SC Stadium, Ar-Rayyan, Qatar - November 14, 2022 Rainbows colours seen in the United States national team's badge in support of LGBTQ+ people pictured in a room used for briefings REUTERS/Carl Recine
Rainbows colours have been added to the United States national team’s badge (Picture: Reuters)
MILAN, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 23: Harry Kane of England's One Love LGBT armband is seen during the UEFA Nations League, League A, Group 3 match between Italy and England at San Siro on September 23, 2022 in Milan, Italy. (Photo by Jonathan Moscrop/Getty Images)
Teams across the tournaments are showing a red card to homophobia (Picture: Getty Images)

Her comments were later echoed by Arsenal player and Ballon D’or runner-up Beth Mead.

Joe Lycett has this week demanded David Beckham forfeits his role as a paid ambassador for the World Cup, promising to shed £10,000 of his own money if the ex-footballer continues his support.

In August, the football legend confirmed his reported £10million deal with an advert promoting Qatar tourism released in September ahead of the major sporting event. 

His collaboration sparked outrage among many, including television personality Rob Rinder, who accused the sports star of choosing ‘money over morals’.

Former English footballer David Beckham takes part in a panel at the Doha Forum in Qatar's capital on March 27, 2022. (Photo by KARIM JAAFAR / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT
David Beckham has come under fire for his work with Qatar (Picture: Getty Images)
FBL-WC-2022-STADIUM-KHALIFA
The World Cup matches will take place across eight stadiums in Qatar (Picture: Getty Images)

In a video message, comedian Lycett has addressed Beckham directly and called for him to end his relationship with Qatar.

He added: ‘If you end your relationship with Qatar, I will donate ten grand of my own money (that’s a grand for every million you’re reportedly getting) to charities that support queer people in football. 

‘However, if you do not, I will throw the money into a shredder at midday next Sunday, just before the opening ceremony of the World Cup and stream it right here. Not just the money, but also your status as gay icon will be shredded.’

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at webnews@metro.co.uk.

For more stories like this, check our news page.









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