Former footballer turned presenter Alex Scott has been praised for wearing a One Love armband whilst presenting at the World Cup in Qatar.
The former Arsenal and England footballer wore the symbol as a gesture of support with LGBTQ+ rights. Her decision to do so came after the England and Wales football teams opted not to after their players were told they could receive yellow cards for violating Fifa rules.
England, the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Switzerland and Wales had originally planned to wear the armband during their matches which is a symbol of inclusion.
Scott, who recently opened up about her sexuality in her memoir How (Not) To Be Strong, has said she understands people’s reasons for wanting to boycott the tournament. Speaking on BBC Sport she explained: “I totally understand their reasons as well as a whole heap of fans from around the world from the LGBT+ community not wanting to travel here”.
So, who is Alex Scott, how many many caps for England did she win and does she have a partner? Here’s everything you need to know.
Who is Alex Scott?
Alex Scott MBE is a former Arsenal and England footballer from London. Scott is from Jamaican descent on her father’s side and discovered her mother’s Jewish heritage on the BBC’s Who Do You Think You Are programme in 2021.
She started playing football for Arsenal at only eight-years-old and went on to represent the team for the next two decades. Scott also did a two year stint at Birmingham City in 2004 and 2005 and played soccer in the USA from 2009 to 2012 before retiring from football in 2017.
Scott has won 140 caps for England and represented Great Britain’s football team in the London 2012 Olympics, coming in fifth. She was named the BBC’s first female pundit in 2018 and joined the Sky Sports Super Sunday Team.
Scott has opened up about the online abuse she has faced after taking on these roles. Reported by the Daily Mail she said: “When I retired, getting trolled, I found that I was turning to drink to try and hide everything, hide what I was feeling.
“I didn’t tell anyone, I didn’t tell my mum because I didn’t want her to worry or put that stress on her. I was just that person (who thought) “I can look after myself, I can deal with stuff” but obviously sometimes that’s the wrong way.
“I got to a dark place and it was over Christmas, that’s when I was like “I can’t carry on like this, it’s not me, I need to seek help” and that led me into therapy.”
Scott is currently covering the World Cup in Qatar and wore the One Love armband, in a gesture of support with LGBTQ+ rights. Her decision came after the England and Wales football teams opted not to after their players were told they could receive yellow cards for violating Fifa rules.
Why did she wear the One Love armband?
The BBC pundit decided to wear the One Love armband during coverage of England vs Iran.
Players from England, the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Switzerland and Wales had originally planned to wear the armband during their matches which is a symbol of inclusion. However, they decided against it after players were told they could receive yellow cards for violating Fifa rules.
Whilst she has not directly stated why she wore the armband, Scott shared a picture of herself wearing it on social media, alongside the caption of a heart emoji.
Does she have a partner?
Scott tends to keep her private life away from the public eye, however she has revealed details about her relationship with Kelly Smith in her upcoming memoir How (Not) To Be Strong.
The pair started a relationship shortly after they were both signed to Arsenal and stayed together for eight years. Her book recalls the couple’s relationship and Smith’s battle with alcoholism. In her memoir, Scott reflects: “Here I was, madly in love for the first time in my life, with an alcoholic. It didn’t bode well.”
What has she said about the World Cup in Qatar?
Scott has spoken about her decision to present the World Cup in Qatar. The country is known for its laws on homosexuality, which is illegal and comes with a three year prison sentence or possible death penalty.
The former footballer understands that many fans will want to boycott the Cup this year. Speaking on BBC Sport she said: “I totally understand their reasons as well as a whole heap of fans from around the world from the LGBT+ community not wanting to travel here.”
She added: “I’m here because I love my job and, when I think about it, sitting here and having the harder conversations: we’re talking about the migrant workers, LGBTQ+ community, we’re talking about women’s rights.
“You think about four years ago, I was the first female pundit for the BBC at a World Cup. You think how far we’ve moved in four years. Let’s hope, in the next four years, we’re never having to have these conversations again.”