Soccer News: Southgate fears England will try to ‘escalate’ World Cup demonstrations

    Gareth Southgate doesn’t feel any pressure from England to make a political statement like the photo of Germany at this World Cup.

    England, like Germany, planned to support the OneLove campaign, which promotes “inclusion and is against discrimination of any kind”, by having its captain wear an armband with her logo.

    When FIFA threatened sporting sanctions (which was expected to be a yellow card for captains), the teams involved refused.

    However, Germany still held a demonstration as their players closed their mouths to a photo of their team ahead of the loss to Japan, suggesting that FIFA was “denying us the right to vote”.

    Southgate was asked Thursday if England would have their own unique protest, but he replied: “No, I don’t think we should feel any pressure.” [to do so].

    “I think we’ve been talking about these specific topics for over a year and we’ve supported all sorts of good causes, whether it’s individuals on our team or collectively. I think there is a risk that everyone will try to escalate the situation…

    “Should we try to make a better video than Australia did? It would be impossible. They did it brilliantly. Should we come up with a better gesture than Germany did?

    “We have to be comfortable with what we stand for. This doesn’t mean we won’t do anything in the future if the time is right, but if we rush to be seen doing something, we may make a mistake that won’t land.

    “At this point in time, especially for the players and me, we have to focus on the games.

    “Of course, the FA takes its responsibility seriously. we will never shy away from any questions. The fact that we are still talking about these issues keeps them in the spotlight and helps raise awareness.

    “We are definitely very supportive of our LGBTQ fans and I know some of them are a little disappointed that the headband is not worn.

    “We will be criticized for this, but sometimes we just need to accept the criticism and move on. Here’s how I see it.

    “If we are confident in ourselves and our position, we should not worry that we need to do something to get noticed.”

    Southgate was also asked if the FA should continue to support FIFA president Gianni Infantino, although he did not feel the conversation was within his purview.

    “In my opinion, the team coach should coach the team, and the leaders of the federation should comment at a higher level,” he said.

    “I spotted Casper [Schmeichel, Denmark’s goalkeeper] after the game he said how hard it was for him. I know him well and can emphasize.

    “We all spend so much time talking about non-football things that we just don’t have enough time to prepare the team.

    “Preparing a team at any moment is difficult, and preparing them for a major tournament is even more difficult. This is not for me.

    “If I want to become a football politician in the future, I will become a football politician. At the moment I have enough work to coach the team.”

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