England national team players at the 2018 World Cup in Russia have been given a free choice over whether to sport rainbow laces over the next month.
All the 14 European nations competing at the tournament have been sent packs of rainbow laces by a group of European parliament politicians campaigning against the anti-LGBT sentiment in the host nation.
While homosexuality is not prohibited in Russia, strict laws prohibit “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relationships” and gay football fans traveling to Russia this summer have been cautioned to be aware of likely discrimination.
The Mirror reports that England players have been informed that they can make their own choices on whether to wear the rainbow laces, which have been worn by players in the English leagues over the last few seasons during annual awareness weeks.
The Swedish FA have already announced that none of its squad will wear the laces, saying that their team needs to focus on “the sporting performance” instead.
England’s first game of the group stages is on Monday night against Tunisia in Volgograd.