Roy Keane and Ian Wright believe that players at the World Cup should go ahead with their plans to wear the One Love armband despite threats of punishment.
FIFA had said that countries and players would be censured if they wore the armband, part of a diversity initiative to support the LGBTQ+ community.
Homosexual relations are banned in Qatar, the 2022 World Cup hosts, which has led to criticism and boycotts of the tournament, as has the poor treatment and deaths of migrant workers in the run-up to the tournament.
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In addition to those controversies, there was also a last-minute decision to ban sales of alcohol near the ground that ran counter to a previous agreement, as well as a late intervention to ban the armband planned for England, Denmark, Germany and other sides.
Instead, FIFA are promoting their own United Nations-backed initiative which makes no headline mention of sexual diversity.
England elected not to wear their own armband, but speaking to ITV on Wednesday, Keane and Wright said that the players should have the courage of their convictions.
Keane said that he believed FIFA had hoped the controversy would blow over when the tournament began, but the row continues to rumble on.
“I think that was part of their plan, but it’s not going away," Keane said. "The players should have gone ahead with the protest and taken the protest. It's going to be ongoing.
“That should make you more determined to do it, you’re obviously going to upset people. Go and do it, be strong.”
Wright suggested the protests should go ahead in sympathy with the risks taken by persecuted communities who are watching on.
He said: “No protest without risk, I get the vibes from everyone, the Danes, it’s done. It's ridiculous, are we gonna sue them, for what? Wear the band.
“The LGBTQ+ community will see that they [the players] actually put something on the line like they do with their lives.”
Karen Carney meanwhile questioned FIFA for their lack of direction.
“I think it goes down to FIFA, chopping and changing, don’t know what they’re doing from one minute to the other,” she said. “I think the players are in a difficult position.”
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