Harry Kane's $1 million act divides fans amid World Cup furore

England captain Harry Kane has been seen wearing a rare rainbow-designed Rolex watch worth almost $1 million at the World Cup. Pic: Getty
England captain Harry Kane has been seen wearing a rare rainbow-designed Rolex watch worth almost $1 million at the World Cup. Pic: Getty

Harry Kane has found another way to make a bold statement in support of the LGBTQ+ community after wearing a specially designed rainbow watch from Rolex worth almost $1 million at the Qatar World Cup. The England captain's eye-catching move came after he was forced to backflip on plans to wear a OneLove armband in England's opening game due to pressure from world governing body, FIFA.

Captains of seven European nations were threatened by FIFA with yellow cards if they carried through on pre-tournament plans to show their support for the LGBTQ+ community at the Cup. England's Kane was one of the players who had planned to wear a OneLove armband during his side's opening 6-2 win against Iran.

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The threat to sanction players if they went ahead with the plan infuriated the various football bodies and human rights groups. It came after FIFA president Gianni Infantino labelled western nations "hypocrites" for criticising Qatar over its human rights record. In response, Denmark vowed not to vote for Infantino when he stands for re-election as FIFA president next year.

Fans have been banned from entering Doha stadiums while wearing rainbow colours signifying support for same-sex relations, which are illegal in Qatar, with one American journalist revealing that he was briefly detained before the USA's opening game for trying to enter a stadium wearing a rainbow t-shirt. Fans also had rainbow hats taken off them before Wales' opening game against USA, with FIFA reportedly ordering officials to allow them to wear them for future matches.

Kane and the other European players who were going to wear the OneLove armbands have come under fire for backflipping on the initiative after FIFA's threats. However, Kane did find a way to don a different sort of rainbow band in the form of a rare $950,000 Rainbow Rolex, that Instagram page Insane Luxury Life described as "one of the most sought after pieces on market."

The caption alongside Kane and a close-up of the watch stated: “The captain of England @harrykane wears a rare @rolex Daytona ‘Rainbow’ 116595RBOW in 18k rose gold, one of the most sought after pieces on market.

“This masterpiece is set with 36 baguette-cut rainbow sapphires on bezel, 56 brilliant-cut diamonds on the case and 11 baguette-cut rainbow coloured sapphires as hour markers.

“The Daytona Rainbow was first released in 2012 in 18k white gold and 18k yellow gold, at the time they weren’t much appreciated by the market. #Rolex.”

Some fans praised Kane for wearing the mouth-wateringly expensive rainbow-designed watch to express his support for LGBTQ+ rights. However, others lashed the Tottenham superstar and accused him of being "out to touch" for trying to promote equality by wearing a piece of jewellery worth almost $1 million.

England coach addresses OneLove armband backflip

It's since emerged that Kane and other players could have faced sterner sanctions than just being handed yellow cards if they followed through with the original plans to wear the OneLove Armbands. England manager Gareth Southgate said despite the setback, his team remained committed to supporting the LGBTQ+ community.

Southgate has not ruled out his England team making a gesture to highlight human rights concerns in Qatar, as other nations like Germany have. The Germans posed for a team photo by covering their mouths in a blunt criticism of how FIFA have tried to silence debate around the controversies in Qatar.

Germany's World Cup squad protested against FIFA for trying to silence the human rights debate at the World Cup in Qatar. (Photo by Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/Getty Images)
Germany's World Cup squad protested against FIFA for trying to silence the human rights debate at the World Cup in Qatar. (Photo by Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/Getty Images)

However, it's understood the sporting punishment for Kane – as well as Wales captain Gareth Bale and the other players who'd agreed to wear the OneLove Armbands - could have been harsher than just a yellow card.

The booking would also have been issued in the dressing room before kick-off, meaning the skipper would not have been able to treat it as a chance to show an act of defiance by wearing the armband.

“I don’t know all the ins and outs because I wasn’t in the meeting but there was definitely a feel there were sanctions and not all of those were really clear,” Southgate said.

“So the decision was taken out of the hands of Harry. The decisions from the organisation was we’re not even putting the armband in the dressing room. There is no discussion, that’s done.

“The player had no say in that. But what that exactly looked like I don’t know because I wasn’t in the meeting. It’s not something I’ve wanted to spend more time on.

Harry Kane wasn't allowed to wear the One Love armband for England's clash with Iran at the World Cup. Image: Getty
Harry Kane wasn't allowed to wear the One Love armband for England's clash with Iran at the World Cup. Image: Getty

“I noticed the Danish coach speaking after the game and he felt he hadn’t got enough bandwidth to deal with the football. I think that’s the risk that we’re all running.

“There was a plan (before Iran), we weren’t able to carry out that plan. What do we do now? Do we all try to out-do each other on a gesture? However we do it probably won’t be enough. Probably could be criticised.”

Southgate, whose team face the United States in their second match on Friday, added: “I don’t think we should feel any pressure. I think we’ve spoken on these particular topics for over a year and we’ve supported all manner of good causes either as individuals or the collective.

“I think there’s a risk that everybody tries to escalate, if we tried to do a better video than Australia did, that would be impossible; whether we try to come up with a better gesture than Germany.

“I think we’ve got to be comfortable that we know what we stand for. That’s not to say we won’t do anything moving forward if the timing’s right, but I think we are rushing to be seen to be doing something, we could make an error that doesn’t land well."

with agencies

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