The England team travel to the World Cup on a Gay Pride jet.
Gareth Southgate players left for Qatar on Tuesday (15.11.22) aboard ‘Rain Bow’, a Virgin Atlantic Airbus A350, in a message to the host country on intolerance.
The plane features a motif of Oscar, the airline’s flying LGBTQ+ Union Jack icon, under the cabin.
The gesture was proposed by FA bosses to express concern over gay rights in a country where homosexuality can still carry the death penalty.
A source told The Sun newspaper: “It’s no coincidence that this particular plane was chosen.
“This perfectly illustrates the concerns of the English side and those of all civilized nations participating in the tournament.”
Southgate recently suggested England would not be afraid to speak about human rights issues at the tournament, despite a request from FIFA for competing teams to focus on football.
The England manager said: “We’ve always talked about issues that we think should be addressed, especially ones that we think we can affect.
“Contrary to one or two observations over the past few weeks, we have spoken in the same way that other nations have spoken about this tournament, about the human rights challenges. We have been very clear about our point of view on this subject.
“So listen, I think we would like to focus mainly on football. For every player, every coach and everyone who goes to a World Cup, it’s a football carnival.
“It’s the thing that you’ve worked for all your life and you don’t want it to be diminished by everything that’s going on around it right now. But we recognize that we’re going to be in this situation, we have to Accept it and deal with it.”