BELGIUM star Jan Vertonghen admits he is afraid to speak out against Qatar.
That’s because he fears being BANNED from playing at the World Cup.
Roberto Martinez’s men kick off their group stage campaign against Canada tomorrow.
But just like England on Tuesday, Belgium will not be wearing their One Love armband.
England pulled the plug on the gesture of solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community over fears of Harry Kane receiving a booking.
It’s reckoned the Three Lions captain and other international stars were threatened with “extreme blackmail”, forcing them to back down from wearing the armband.
Kane later revealed he was “disappointed” at being blocked from wearing the armband.
And Belgium star Vertonghen has now given his views on playing in Qatar.
He and teammates have had to ditch their colourful pre-match jerseys, and have also had to remove the word “love” from their away kit.
But Vertonghen admits he is hesitant to criticise Qatar and Fifa’s actions amid fears he will be banned from playing in the tournament.
The former Tottenham star, now at Anderlecht, said: “It’s a tough question. If it’s too late [to make a statement against discrimination], I don’t know. If you make a statement now by wearing it, that would mean punishing yourself.
“But now I’m afraid to say anything. I don’t feel comfortable saying anything, and that’s telling enough, that we are put under pressure.
“That’s a regrettable situation that I’ve never experienced in football and I hope I won’t experience again.
“We are being controlled and I don’t really like making political statements anyway, but if you can’t even wear a captain’s armband with normal messages like ‘no to racism’, or ‘no to discrimination’, then hey, then what [can you say]?
“I shouldn’t be saying anything about it because tomorrow I want to appear at the game. It’s a pity that we have been put in this situation, and I want to leave it at that.”
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