Lionesses centre-back Lotte Wubben-Moy has said she will be supporting the England men’s team at the World Cup in Qatar but “won’t be watching” the tournament due to the country’s views on women, homosexuality and human rights.
“It’s tough,” said Wubben-Moy, who is travelling with England to Spain for friendlies against Japan and Norway on Friday and next Tuesday. “As an England team we all have strong values and a lot of those values aren’t reflected, in the way that we see it, in Qatar.”
Wubben-Moy has been a vocal advocate for equality and instigated a letter from the Lionesses to the Conservative leadership candidates calling for equal access to football in schools. She also has a clause in her contract which commits her to working with Arsenal in the Community to set up a project aimed at young women and girls. “It’s a tough conversation to have and there’s a lot of dialogue around it,” she said.
“I will be supporting the men’s team, but I won’t be watching. It’s hard to talk about but at the end of the day, we’re one team here at England and we know that they have an opportunity to play at a World Cup and it’s hard to look beyond that really.”
Responding to Fifa’s message to teams competing in Qatar to “not allow football to be dragged into every ideological or political battle that exists”, Wubben-Moy said: “Sport is a very strong vehicle for change. To underestimate that would be naive. I’ve seen a lot of the players have strong viewpoints and I salute them, and I wish them the best in looking to express that throughout this World Cup.
“A lot of the players might not ever play in a World Cup again, so I can’t comment on them choosing to go because many people would take that same choice. But [if] they can use this opportunity to help bring about change, I think that’s important.”
Wubben-Moy’s Lionesses teammate Alex Greenwood said: “We obviously can’t choose where the World Cup is happening. We have to try to change the negative into a positive and speak about the things that we can maybe highlight and what we believe in as a country and that’s for all women to have equal rights. That’s something we’ll talk about openly, and I’m sure the men will do the same.”
Wubben-Moy echoed Greenwood’s sentiments, while Beth Mead told BBC Radio 4 last week that the ban on homosexuality in Qatar was “the complete opposite to what I believe and respect”.
“It’s not something I will be backing or promoting,” said the England forward, who is in a relationship with her Arsenal teammate Vivianne Miedema. “It’s disappointing in the sense that there’s no respect on a lot of levels, even though it’s a game of football.”