DOHA: Socceroos star Jackson Irvine has described the debate around the « One Love » armbands as interesting – not just due to their banning, but because of criticism from some of those the messaging is meant to support.
« The conversations I’ve had with people from the LGBTQI+ community have already described that messaging as vague and lacking a real statement in what it’s trying to achieve as well, » he said.
« There’s conversations to be had from every angle about these things, but I can’t speak on what other countries will decide to do and those discussions they’ll have. They’ll make the decision they’ll feel is best for them. »
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Irvine has made no secret about his own feelings on Qatar’s treatment of homosexuals, but said it was difficult to judge anyone else’s course of action.
« It’s a tough one to dissect, obviously it’s been changing by the day, » he said.
« Changes through regulation, and then changes through decisions that teams have made and players have made.
« It’s tough to react when things change so quickly for those players and those teams. But when all is said and done there’ll be a time to really dissect how those messages have gone out and the way they chose to do it. »
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The Socceroos were on the front foot in October, becoming the first team at the FIFA World Cup to release a collective statement of protest against Qatar’s human rights record
« All I can do is speak from our point of view and obviously say how proud I am of our squad and the clear position we took coming into this tournament, » he said.
« There was no possibility to have that change thrown on us at a late stage. From our perspective that’s why we chose to do that and the timing in which we did it as well. »
The captains of England, Wales and and several European nations had planned to wear the armbands before FIFA threatened them with yellow cards in a last-minute announcement.
Plenty criticised the countries’ decision to back down in the face of the threat but Irvine said it was a tricky situation.
« It’s difficult to speak for those other countries, but I know if I was to start on a yellow card I’d be in a right pickle, » he said.
« I can totally understand how that affects different players – but I think when you put yourself in a position where you’ve not made your position totally clear, and the gesture you have chosen to take, there’s different circumstances that come around that and it becomes difficult to react in such a short space of time. »
Irvine was also asked if Australia’s own past – namely the treatment of indigenous Australians – would be amplified in the lead up to hosting the women’s World Cup next year.
« This has been a long process and journey we’ve been on as players, leading up to making the statement we made and being part of conversations with important organisations that work in these spaces, » he said.
« I hope it’s something as a team we do continue to talk about. I’ve commented in the past on problems we have at home, as much as the issues we’ve talked about here.
« People talk about the hypocrisy of these issues but not talking about ones that happen at home – I hope that’s something we continue to explore in future as part of our growth as a team and as individuals. That’s something to look at moving forward. »
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