David Seaman hails England show of support for exclusivity

David Seaman has hailed England's show of support for inclusivity at the World Cup as "quite right".

Firecrackers explode before the start of the World Cup group B soccer match between England and The United States, at the Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor, Qatar, Friday, Nov. 25, 2022. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi).
Firecrackers explode before the start of the World Cup group B soccer match between England and The United States, at the Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor, Qatar, Friday, Nov. 25, 2022. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi).

The former England goalkeeper praised the team as he spoke about the controversies at this year's competition in Qatar from the Fifa fan zone in Tottenham Court Road, central London, on Friday evening.

England took the knee just before kick-off to protest against inequality, having also made the gesture in their first match against Iran on Monday.

Speaking to the PA news agency during the game, Seaman said: "It's quite right. The more awareness that's out there, the better it is.

"We've shown as a group that we can support things like this.

"Everyone was behind wearing the armband but that didn't happen but the more we highlight things like this the better."

Seaman was also critical of Fifa as well as the World Cup hosts over last-minute decisions such as banning alcohol for fans in stadiums, saying: "I was a bit disappointed to be honest that it was in Qatar.

"We've known about this for 12 years but some of the decisions that have been made in the last minute - I think it's just a lack of organisation.

"Fifa need to take some of the blame as well."

"It's a shame it's not for everybody to watch or not everybody can watch it but now let's enjoy it," he added.

Thousands of people gathered at the Fifa fan zone in Tottenham Court Road, central London, for the game, where they chanted: "It's coming home."

Members of the crowd wore Budweiser bucket hats, which were handed out for free, and were decked in England T-shirts and flags.

Some USA supporters also joined the crowd, wearing American flags.

Shawn Kelly, 29, from Boston, said: "It's been a lovely experience.

"Everyone has been very friendly. We have a lot in common. There's a lot of camaraderie."

Thomas Borland, 32, from Washington DC, who came to the UK just to watch the World Cup, joked that he felt "slightly" out of place in the crowd.

But he added: "There is nowhere else I'd rather be. This is what it's all about."

Collin Gibson, 47, who lives in Tonbridge, Kent, but was born in North Carolina, said he was torn over which team to support with his family all supporting the US team.

"I think I want England to win," he said. "If England wins I'll be very happy, if America wins I'll be ecstatic."

As the game finished, the room erupted in "Booos" as the teams drew with no goals scored.

Speaking about the atmosphere at the Fifa fan zone, Seaman said: "I think it's brilliant because I've been a player in these World Cups and I know what it's like.

"You're shut away from everybody so to now come and watch it as a fan it's really brilliant.

"I love it - I love all the atmosphere that builds up. I love the fact that you see all the cars with their flags out. Even I have a flag on my car so I'm an England fan now and I love being an England fan.

"When you're a player it's much different - you're trying to win for the fans. Now I want my England team to win for me as a fan."

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