World Cup: Qatar ordering visitors to lose rainbow clothing and ‘detained’ man over t-shirt

Football fans forced to remove rainbow hats and T-shirts to enter Qatar World Cup stadium

Football fans have reported being forced to remove rainbow items of clothing, including hats and T-shirts, in order to enter a World Cup stadium in Qatar.

Journalist Grant Wahl posted on Twitter that he was asked to change his rainbow T-shirt, which he said was called “political”, before entering the USA-Wales match on Monday (21 November), adding that he was “detained for 25 minutes” for refusing to take it off.

I’m OK, but that was an unnecessary ordeal. Am in the media center, still wearing my shirt. Was detained for nearly half an hour,” he said.

He later added that he had been in touch with “both FIFA and US Soccer representatives” who “told me publicly that rainbows on shirts and flags would not be a problem at the Qatar World Cup”.

ITV News also reported similar incidents, tweeting a video of former Wales captain Laura McAllister being asked to “take her rainbow hat off” – which was designed by LGBTQ+ football organisation The Rainbow Wall – before entering the World Cup stadium.

“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,” McAllister told the outlet.
“They were insistent that unless I took the hat off we weren’t actually allowed to come into the stadium.

“Coming from a nation like Wales, we were very keen that we still took a stand coming here.”
FIFA is facing intense backlash over its decision to hold the 2022 Men’s World Cup, which began on Sunday (20 November), in Qatar, where it is illegal to be gay, and where abuses of LGBTQ+ Qataris have been documented as recently as October.

The England and Wales football teams have been criticised for backing 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.”

British human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell slammed FIFA for not going ahead with wearing the OneLove armband, which he called the “tiniest of gestures” 

“It was a weak campaign but even that was too much for FIFA, who have bullied the England team to not wear it,” Tatchell said.

“FIFA have crushed the OneLove campaign with the threat of yellow cards. It’s time to show FIFA and Qatar the red card.”