FIFA ‘holding urgent talks with Qatar’ after fans forced to bin rainbow hats at World Cup stadium

FIFA and Qatar are reportedly in talks after it emerged that football fans were being banned from wearing rainbow items of clothing in stadiums.

There was widespread outrage after ITV News posted a video of former Wales captain Laura McAllister being stopped by “insistent” Qatar security for wearing a rainbow hat while trying to enter a stadium.

American journalist Grant Wahl also claimed in a Twitter post that he was asked to change his rainbow T-shirt before entering the USA-Wales match on Monday (21 November), adding that he was “detained for 25 minutes” by Qatari officials for refusing to take it off.

As criticism grew, The Guardian reported that FIFA and Qatar were in talks on Tuesday (22 November) over the incidents, with FIFA reportedly reminding Qatar of their previous assurances that rainbow flags could be brought into the stadium.

The newspaper added that FIFA is “deeply concerned” about the incidents.

FIFA is under increasing pressure over its decision to hold the World Cup in Qatar, where homosexuality is a crime.

Ahead of the tournament, football bosses have claimed queer fans would be safe and welcomed.

Wales captain McAllister said she reminded staff at the Qatar stadium about this, telling ITV: “I pointed out that FIFA had made lots of comments about supporting LGBT rights in this tournament, and said to them that coming from a nation where we’re very passionate about equality for all people, I wasn’t going to take my hat off.

“They were insistent that unless I took the hat off we weren’t actually allowed to come into the stadium.
The Football Association of Wales (FAW) expressed in a statement that it was “extremely disappointed” to hear that fans were “asked to remove and discard their Rainbow Wall bucket hats before entry to the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium”.

It added: “These bucket hats were created in partnership with the FAW.

“The FAW has collated information on these alleged incidents and will be addressing this matter directly with FIFA today (22 November).”

The incidents come after several teams, including England and Wales, backed out of their promise to wear pro-LGBTQ+ OneLove armbands at the World Cup, after FIFA threatened that captains could face an instant yellow card.

A joint statement from the Football Associations of England, Wales, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands and Switzerland, confirmed on Monday (21 November) that the teams will not wear the armband in Qatar.

“FIFA has been very clear that it will impose sporting sanctions if our captains wear the armbands on the field of play,” the statement read.

“As national federations, we can’t put our players in a position where they could face sporting sanctions including bookings, so we have asked the captains not to attempt to wear the armbands in FIFA World Cup games.”

PinkNews has contacted FIFA for comment.