Daily Mail

Lions fly in to Qatar on Virgin ‘gay pride’ jet

We’ll make you proud vows Kane as Gareth’s stars jet off to Qatar

- By Rebecca English Royal Editor

THE england squad touched down in Doha for the World Cup last night on virgin Atlantic’s gay pride plane.

Dubbed ‘rain Bow’, the jet is decorated with a cartoon of oscar, a man pulling a Union Flag and wearing rainbowcol­oured trainers.

The Airbus A350 sports the registrati­on number ‘GV-PRD’ – in a nod to gay pride. The choice to use it for the trip is seen as a clear challenge to Qatar, where homosexual­ity is illegal and its treatment of the LBGT community has been widely condemned.

virgin said its gender-neutral uniform policy – allowing staff to wear non-traditiona­l clothing – would not apply on the flight to keep them safe from trouble with the Qatari authoritie­s.

A virgin spokesman said: ‘ The safety and security of our people and customers is always our top priority. We’re proud our leading gender-identity policy allows our people to express themselves through uniform choice.

‘We complete a risk assessment on all countries we fly to, considerin­g laws and attitudes towards the LGBTQ+ community and expression­s of identity. it was recommende­d the policy was not applied on today’s charter flight to ensure the safety of our people.’

england will begin their bid for glory against iran on Monday. The Three lions then face the USA next Friday before a potentiall­y crucial final group game against Wales on november 29.

The england players were given a rock-star welcome from around 200 cheering fans outside their Qatar hotel last night.

some had waited all day and manager Gareth southgate acknowledg­ed them with a clenched fist salute as the joyous supporters screamed the names of the stars and waved flags.

inside the souq Al Wakra hotel, the players were greeted by the manager accompanie­d by a camel and a falcon, two symbols of Qatar. The hotel is in a bustling, beachside area popular with tourists.

on Monday prince William visited the team at st George’s park, their staffordsh­ire training base.

As the new prince of Wales, he is already feeling the weight of divided loyalties with both england and Wales making the finals.

Although he is now committed to promoting the people, culture and communitie­s of Wales, he has been president of the english Football Associatio­n since 2006 and is an openly committed fan.

A source said: ‘prince William is delighted and hugely proud of the Welsh team for reaching their first final since 1958. But it would be quite disingenuo­us for someone who hasn’t been shy about supporting england his entire life to start changing his allegiance­s.’

ENGLAND captain Harry Kane touched down in Qatar for the World Cup last night and vowed to make the country proud.

Gareth Southgate’s squad come into the tournament in uncertain form but Kane has asked the country to unite behind them ahead of Monday’s opener against Iran.

Preparing for his third World Cup, Kane said: ‘I’m excited, a World Cup is a special occasion. It is the biggest tournament you can play in as a player. It’s going to be

massive. I remember when we were out in Russia last time in our own little bubble. We saw all the videos from back home of people going crazy.

‘It makes a big difference. It motivates us to be successful. We want to make the fans proud and happy. Of course, there will be some in the stadiums. We always have great support. But most will be at home and we just want to make them proud.’

The evening temperatur­e in Doha was about 27oC (80oF ) when the England party arrived before heading to their luxury training base at the Souq Al Wakra hotel, 10 miles south of Qatar’s capital. It will nudge above 30oC when England train at the Saoud bin Abdulrahma­n Stadium today. Kane won the Golden Boot for top scorer in Russia four years ago but he told the Lions’ Den Show on the England YouTube channel: ‘It is not the main thing I’m going for. But I know if I do end up with the Golden Boot, it will be good for the team…a good bonus.’

 ?? ??
 ?? ?? Symbol: Oscar and his rainbow trainers on yesterday’s Virgin flight
Symbol: Oscar and his rainbow trainers on yesterday’s Virgin flight
 ?? GETTY IMAGES ?? World Cup mission: Gareth Southgate boards the plane to Qatar
GETTY IMAGES World Cup mission: Gareth Southgate boards the plane to Qatar

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United Kingdom