Tom Swarbrick: Too much is placed on footballers to be reflective of our values

21 November 2022, 18:38

Tom Swarbrick questions whether 'too much' is placed on footballers.

By Hannah Holland

From "champions of social justice" to "mere international footballers", Tom Swarbrick weighed in on the Football Association’s “pathetic” decision to “give into the demands of the corrupt FIFA".

England and Wales decided against players wearing OneLove armbands at the World Cup after FIFA threatened to impose sporting sanctions on the teams if they wore the armbands.

Tom initially explained that the Football Association had decided that a yellow card was “too much to withstand.”

He continued: “Therefore England will not wear the OneLove arm band - a symbol of solidarity for gay people in a country where, of course, being gay is illegal.”

“There’s a fair bit to criticise the FA for”, Tom said before adding: “how apparently pathetic to give into the demands of the corrupt FIFA.

“When for years, in the run up to this World Cup, the FA has been taking about how inclusive football should be.”

Tom explained: “FIFA’s threat and the FA’s U-turn has reduced the eleven who took to the pitch today from England from champions of social justice and freedom of expression to mere international footballers.”

He then questioned listeners: “Be honest - if England had been battered 6-2 by Iran but had worn the arm band, would you be content with how they’d done?

“Would that ultimately have been good enough?”

“The reality is, ultimately they are professional footballers and maybe too much is placed on them to be overtly reflective of the values that we hold dear”, Tom considered.

“Is it enough for professional footballers to be anti racist and anti-homophobic and not receive opprobrium if they don’t overly show that they are.”

He said: “The FA is being asked to choose between football - getting a fine, having players yellow-carded, possibly suspensions that would come with that every time they took to the pitch wearing an armband - versus taking a stand.”

And I think it’s pretty obvious what they were going to choose when placed in those circumstances.”

READ MORE: England captain Harry Kane won't wear 'OneLove' armband in World Cup after FA back down over booking threat

READ MORE: James O'Brien defends the England team's 'powerful gestures' against Qatar's 'rancid regime'

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