Wembley Stadium lit up in rainbow colours as row over LGBTQ+ rights and Qatar rages on

Wembley Stadium rainbow coloured arch

Wembley Stadium has been lit up with rainbow colours in support of the queer community following England and Wales backing out of wearing the pro-LGBTQ+ OneLove armband at the Qatar World Cup. 

The overt off-pitch message marked England taking on the USA yesterday (25 November), ending in a 0-0 draw.

It also follows Football Association (FA) chief executive Mark Bullingham confirming FIFA had threatened participating nations with a yellow card should they choose to wear the OneLove armband. 

Carl Fearn, co-chairman of Gaygooners, Arsenal Football Club’s supporters group for LGBTQ+ fans, said the rainbow illuminated Wembley arch “is a welcome, but small, gesture by the FA”.

“It would, though, have had far more meaning if Fifa and Qatar had lived up to their promise of a warm welcome for all and allowed it to happen in Qatar rather than thousands of miles away in England.

“We recognise and appreciate the England team and the Wales team are on the side of LGBT+ football fans. 

“Being prevented from showing their support in Qatar for all the OneLove causes is shameful.”

It follows A joint statement from the Football Associations of England, Wales, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands and Switzerland, confirming the teams will not wear the OneLove armband as they had planned to at the World Cup in Qatar.

However, following “urgent talks” between FIFA and Qatar the football governing body has confirmed Pride colours “will not be prohibited” at World Cup stadiums in Qatar. 

Despite the announcement a BBC cameraman has been refused entry to an England game for wearing a rainbow watch strap. 

It follows a number of fans, including former Wales captain Laura McAllister, reportedly being asked to remove rainbow items before entering stadiums.

In protest against David Beckham’s reported £10 million deal with Qatar comedian Joe Lycett pretended to shred £10,000 in a bid to increase discussion around human rights violations in Qatar. 

Lycett’s £10,000 was instead donated to LGBTQ+ charities. 

In Qatar homosexuality is illegal and being found guilty of same-sex relations can result in a lengthy prison sentence, while under Sharia law it is possible for men to face the death penalty if they are found to have engaged in same-sex intimacy.