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Three Lions Could Be Replaced At Qatar World Cup

Jess Hardiman

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| Last updated 

Three Lions Could Be Replaced At Qatar World Cup

Featured Image Credit: Epic

The classic England football anthem Three Lions could be replaced at the Qatar World Cup, according to a new report.

The Sun, which published the report, has since launched a campaign to save the song and says it will petition the FA to stick with the beloved tune. 

The song has been a footballing favourite since it was released by comedy duo Baddiel and Skinner and the Lightning Seeds in 1996 to tie in with the Euros that summer, having become the de facto anthem among England fans during various tournaments over the years. 

The Sun explained how all 32 nations taking part in the World Cup later this year have to nominate a song to be played in the build-up to kick-off. 

But while England football fans love Three Lions dearly, regularly chanting ‘It’s Coming Home’ to show their support for the team, FA chiefs are said to be considering dropping the tune over fears the tune is seen as ‘arrogant’ by other countries. 

It added that there is speculation that Neil Diamond’s Sweet Caroline is the forerunner to replace it. 

Speaking to the newspaper, Lions legend Paul Gascoigne said: “The FA have totally lost the plot. 

“You can’t take that song off us. Sweet Caroline doesn’t come close. 

“It would be like saying we can’t wave St George’s flags anymore. 

“This woke nonsense has no place in football. It’s just a great song.” 

Credit: Alamy
Credit: Alamy

Last night, TalkTV presenter Piers Morgan also commented on the rumours, saying: “This is a ridiculous idea. 

“The song is all about wallowing in 30 years of hurt and pain at not winning anything, how can anyone say it is arrogant. 

“We should absolutely stick with Three Lions.” 

The Sun said it has now launched a ‘campaign’ to save the song in the lead-up to this year’s Qatar World Cup, which kicks off in November. 

Steve Double, who used to be head of media relations at the FA, previously revealed how he had thought the song was inappropriate thanks to some of the original lyrics.

In a 2021 article for The Mirror, he explained how he nearly banned the tune, writing: "I was that faceless FA bureaucrat.

"Euro 96, which was staged in England, was a huge success – an uplifting so-near-but-so-far performance by the England team coupled with a well-organised and trouble-free tournament."

However, behind the scenes, there was concern about it.

"The overwhelming fear of the Football Association was that hooliganism – so much more prevalent then than now – would mar the tournament and ruin the reputation of English football."

Credit: Alamy
Credit: Alamy

Two months before the first match, he was given the lyrics for the official song and was asked to check them.

He says: "It was the original lyrics to Three Lions. After the success of New Order's World in Motion for the 1990 World Cup, the FA's endorsement for the official England song had become sought-after.

"[...] Foreseeing no issues, I read the lyrics. 'Jules Rimet still gleaming... 30 years of hurt... never stopped me dreaming'. Very nice.

"Bobby belting the ball, and Nobby dancing...' This is good, I thought.

"'...Butcher at war...' Hang on. Terry Butcher was famed as England's blood-spattered centre back from the 1990 World Cup campaign.

"But this is football, not war. Any references to fighting were unacceptable. I picked up the red pen and struck it out. To me, it was an easy decision.

"How can we preach peace to fans when the team's official single was extolling war?"

He responded saying they were unacceptable, receiving 'both barrels' for changing the lyrics, which went from 'Butcher going to war' to 'That tackle by Moore'.

Double said: "The war reference vanished, and we had peace in our time.

"No thanks to me, the record by Baddiel & Skinner & the Lightning Seeds was a huge commercial success. It was even a hit in Germany."

Topics: Sport, World Cup, Football

Jess Hardiman
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