Ali Riley, the captain of NZ’s women’s football team, has instantly become an 'icon' and 'ultimate ally' for sneaking around FIFA’s rules to show support for the LGBTQ+ community.
For context, FIFA made a (dumb) rule ahead of the men’s World Cup last year that players were banned from wearing rainbow-coloured armbands in support of the community, after a handful of countries ruled against it.
For the women’s World Cup, rainbow armbands are also banned - which really grinds my gears, especially because SO many players in the tournament are a part of the LGBTQ+ community themselves.
Ali Riley, captain of the Football Ferns, appears to have still found a way to show her support to the rainbow community by painting her nails rainbow colours on one hand, and the trans-flag colours on her other hand. What. A. Queen.
When our girls made history on Thursday night by beating Norway 1-0, Riley’s colourful nails could proudly be seen in her post-match interview, which was streamed around the world.
Heck, she was even on Fox News reppin’ her support for the rainbow community! Such a win.
It’s important to mention that FIFA did come out with a range of 8 different approved armbands that players could wear, highlighting “a range of social causes,” including themes of “gender equality” and “inclusion,” but none that specifically highlight the queer community.
Before the tournament, Riley told CNN that she would be “honoured to wear a rainbow armband.”
She said: “I would love for us as captains to come together and work with FIFA to make sure that we are able to have a voice and are able to share what we believe in.
“But I am confident that we will find ways, no matter what, to make sure our voices are heard,” - and that was exactly what she did. And I honestly couldn’t be more proud!
Football Ferns next game is tomorrow (Tuesday 25th) at 5.30pm NZT, against the Philippines. Yeah the gals!