Harry Kane has found another way to make a bold statement in support of the LGBTQ+ community after wearing a nearly $1 million custom-designed Rolex rainbow watch at the World Cup in Qatar. The England captain’s eye-catching move came after pressure from world governing body FIFA forced him to rescind his plans to wear a OneLove armband in England’s opening game.
Captains from seven European nations were threatened with yellow cards by FIFA when carrying out the pre-tournament plans to show their support for the LGBTQ+ community at the Cup. England’s Kane was one of the players who wanted to wear a OneLove armband in his side’s opening 6-2 win over Iran.
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The threat to sanction players if they implement the plan infuriated the various football governing bodies and human rights groups. It came after FIFA President Gianni Infantino called Western nations “hypocrites” for criticizing Qatar for its human rights record. In response, Denmark vowed not to vote for Infantino if he stands for re-election as FIFA President next year.
Fans have been banned from entering Doha stadiums while wearing rainbow colors, signifying support for same-sex relationships, which are illegal in Qatar, with an American journalist revealing he was arrested shortly before the United States’ opening game for trying t shirt to enter a stadium with a rainbow. Rainbow hats were also taken from fans ahead of Wales’ opening match against USA, with FIFA reportedly ordering officials to allow them to wear them for future matches.
Kane and the other European players who wanted to wear the OneLove armbands have come under fire for reversing the initiative following threats from FIFA. However, Kane found a way to don a different kind of rainbow band in the form of a rare $950,000 Rainbow Rolex, which Instagram page Insane Luxury Life has described as “one of the most coveted pieces out there.”
The caption alongside Kane and a close-up of the watch read: “Captain of England @harrykane wears a rare @rolex Daytona ‘Rainbow’ 116595RBOW in 18k rose gold, one of the most coveted pieces on the market.
“This masterpiece is set with 36 baguette-cut rainbow sapphires on the bezel, 56 brilliant-cut diamonds on the case and 11 baguette-cut rainbow sapphires as hour markers.
“The Daytona Rainbow was first released in 2012 in 18k white gold and 18k yellow gold, when the market didn’t appreciate them very much. #Rolex.”
Some fans praised Kane for wearing the incredibly expensive rainbow-themed watch to show his support for LGBTQ+ rights. However, others lashed out at the Tottenham superstar, accusing him of “being on the alert” for trying to promote equality by wearing a piece of jewelry worth nearly $1million.
The England coach addresses the OneLove bracelet backflip
Since then, it has emerged that Kane and other players could have faced more severe penalties than just receiving yellow cards if they had followed the original plans to wear the OneLove armbands. England manager Gareth Southgate said his team remained committed to supporting the LGBTQ+ community despite the setback.
Southgate hasn’t ruled out his England team making a gesture to highlight human rights concerns in Qatar, as other nations like Germany have done. The Germans posed for a team photo while covering their mouths in a blunt criticism of how FIFA has tried to silence the debate over the controversies in Qatar.
But it’s understood the sporting punishment for Kane – as well as Wales captain Gareth Bale and the other players who agreed to wear the OneLove armbands – could have been harsher than just a yellow card.
The booking would also have been made in the dressing room before kick-off, so the skipper could not have used this as an opportunity to show defiance by wearing the armband.
“I don’t know all the details because I wasn’t at the meeting, but there was definitely a sense that there were sanctions and not all of them were really clear,” Southgate said.
“So the decision was taken out of Harry’s hands. The organization’s decision was that we didn’t even put the pad in the dressing room. There’s no discussion, that’s done.
“The player has nothing to say about it. But I don’t know exactly what that looked like because I wasn’t at the meeting. It’s not something I wanted to spend more time on.
“I noticed the Danish coach was speaking after the game and he felt he didn’t have enough bandwidth to delve into the football. I think that’s the risk we all take.
“There was a plan (before Iran), we couldn’t execute that plan. What do we do now? Are we all trying to outdo each other with a gesture? But we probably don’t do it enough. Could probably be criticized.”
Southgate, whose side face the United States in their second game on Friday, added: “I don’t think we should feel any pressure. I think we’ve been talking about these specific issues for well over a year and we’ve supported all sorts of good causes, either as individuals or as a collective.
“I think there is a risk that everyone is trying to escalate, if we were trying to do a better video than Australia it would be impossible; whether we can come up with a better gesture than Germany.
“I think we have to be sure that we know what we stand for. That’s not to say we won’t do anything if the timing is right, but I think we rush to be seen doing something, we could make a mistake that doesn’t land well.
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