John Fashanu slammed for bizarre GMB rant over 'inappropriate' World Cup protests

john fashanu slammed for bizarre gmb rant over 'inappropriate' world cup protests

The ex-footballer claims players should ‘respect’ Qatar’s archaic laws (Pictures: ITV / Getty)

Former footballer John Fashanu made an excruciating appearance on Good Morning Britain on Thursday in which he blasted the World Cup protests and claimed it was ‘culturally inappropriate’ to wear a ‘OneLove’ armband.

FIFA’s decision to host the tournament in Qatar – where homosexuality is outlawed and women’s rights limited – has been clouded in controversy particularly after players were threatened with sanctions if they wore the rainbow armband in matches.

The ‘OneLove’ gesture was designed to show solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community and Germany’s players responded to FIFA’s intervention by posing for a team photo on Wednesday with their hands covering their mouths, saying they were ‘being denied a voice’.

But former Wimbledon player Fashanu, whose brother Justin was the first professional footballer to come out as gay and later took his own life, hit out at the protests and claims players at the World Cup should respect Qatar’s archaic laws and avoid politicising the sport.

Speaking on GMB on Thursday morning, he said: ‘The OneLove armband, what has that got to do with football? How did that merge into the world of football?

‘Politics and football, we try to keep them away from each other because if politics goes into football – which is what is happening – the politics go up and up and up and then eventually they will win. So I’m just very disappointed.

‘I don’t think they [the federations] should have even threatened [to wear the armbands] because I just don’t think it’s got anything to do with football at all.

‘We’ve said it time and time again, if they’re going to award Qatar the opportunity to have this wonderful opportunity for football, you would like to think that everybody would adhere to the rules and the regulations of the country. Simple.’

Asked if he thinks it is therefore ‘culturally inappropriate’ to make a protest, Fashanu continued: ‘Very inappropriate, yes. I think that whatever the rules and the regulations are of that country, whatever they might be, adhere to them.

john fashanu slammed for bizarre gmb rant over 'inappropriate' world cup protests

Germany’s players hit back at FIFA’s decision to ‘gag’ them (Picture: Getty)

john fashanu slammed for bizarre gmb rant over 'inappropriate' world cup protests

German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser wore the armband in the stands (Picture: Reuters)

‘Some of them might be good, some of them might be bad. But respect the country and say, “OK that’s fine. I can’t do this, I can’t do that, that’s fine.”’

Fashanu’s appearance on GMB was such a car crash that he immediately started trending on Twitter with viewers in disbelief over his comments.

‘I can’t believe what I’m listening to,’ wrote one viewer. ‘Are you for real? So in your playing days when all the racial slurs were being hurled at you, you just turned a blind eye did you? Your brother would be turning in his grave.’

Stonewall ambassador and referee Ryan Atkin tweeted: ‘Just wow. Sorry but I seriously disagree with your view and can’t believe what I just heard from you.

‘LGBT, women’s rights and any discrimination is not political, it’s MORALITY! Football should be welcoming and inclusive for all.’

For more stories like this, check our sport page.

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