Rainbow outfit: US journalist says he was initially barred from stadium because of rainbow t-shirt | Popgen Tech
Some people attending matches at the 2022 FIFA World Cup said they faced difficulties in Qatar trying to enter stadiums wearing LGBTQ rights clothing.
US soccer journalist Grant Wall and former Wales captain Laura McAllister said they were ordered to remove their rainbow clothing at the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium on Monday before the US Men’s National Team (USMNT) match against Wales. security officers.
Wahl said he was detained and briefly banned from the match because of the “rainbow soccer shirt” he was wearing. Twitter the security guards told him, “You have to change your shirt. Inadmissible”.
The journalist wrote on his website that when he tweeted about the incident on his phone, “one guard forcefully snatched my phone from my hands.”
“One security guard told me my shirt was ‘political’ and off limits,” Wahl wrote. “The other one kept refusing to give me back the phone. Another guard shouted at me as he stood over me – I was already sitting on a chair – that I should take my shirt off.”
Wahl said he was released 25 minutes after being detained and received an apology from a FIFA official and a senior security official at the stadium.
Wahl told CNN on Tuesday that he had been assured in advance that he would be allowed to wear the rainbow-embellished clothing and that he would “probably wear that shirt again because he has ‘no fear of any of that.’
When asked about standing up for the LGBTQ community, Wall said, “It’s very important to me, and it’s not required in any way.
“There are gay people in my family. I have gay friends. I have gay journalist friends based here in Qatar. But it is not necessary to support, to be an ally.
“So I was thinking about all these people yesterday. I was thinking of Colorado Springs. I thought about all sorts of things. And if I have to be detained for 30 minutes, it’s kind of a shame. But this is not a problem for me. And that’s why I was happy to help at least a little.”
McAllister, who captained the Wales women’s football team in the 1990s, said she was stopped by security and had her rainbow hat confiscated before being allowed to enter the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium.
“So despite kind words from @FIFAWorldCup ahead of the event, @Cymru (Wales) rainbow bucket hats have been confiscated in the stadium, including mine,” McAllister tweeted events.
“I spoke to the stewards about it – we have video evidence. This #WorldCup2022 gets even better, but we will continue to stand up for our values,” McAllister added.
In a video posted online by British media outlet ITV, McAllister is seen being stopped at a checkpoint and a man in police uniform pointing at her hat.
“They insisted that until I took my hat off, we wouldn’t actually be allowed into the stadium,” McAllister told ITV.
McAllister, who was capped 24 times for Wales, told ITV that security officials said the rainbow hat was a “prohibited symbol”.
“I think we’ve been warned a lot that it’s not going to be a tournament that respects human rights, LGBT rights and women’s rights, but coming from a country like Wales, we really wanted to still take a stand by coming here , McAllister told ITV.
The hat in question is being sold by The Rainbow Wall, an LGBTQ+ supporter group for the Wales national team.
Earlier on Monday, shortly after it was announced that the captains of several European countries would not be wearing ‘OneLove’ armbands at the World Cup in Qatar due to the risk of yellow cards, former England international Alex Scott donned the rainbow armband as she formed part of BBC coverage of the England v Iran match.
England, the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Switzerland and Wales were to take part in the OneLove campaign to promote inclusion and fight discrimination.
But the associations of those countries said in a statement on Monday that the armband – which features a striped heart in different colors representing all heritages, origins, genders and sexual identities – will not be worn in Qatar.
It was announced on Tuesday that supermarket chain Rewe had ended its partnership with the German football association DFB over what FIFA called a “scandalous” ban on the ‘OneLove’ armband.
US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken also criticized the sport’s world governing body for its stance on armbands.
“From my point of view, when we see any restrictions on freedom of expression, it’s always a cause for concern. This is especially true when it comes to diversity and inclusion,” said Blinken.
“And at least in my opinion, nobody on the football field should be forced to choose between upholding those values and playing for their team,” Blinken told reporters in Doha on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, the Belgian FA announced that it had to remove the word “love” from its uniform due to a commercial conflict that preceded the decision not to wear the “OneLove” armband.
CNN has reached out to FIFA and World Cup organizers for comment and has clarified the official World Cup dress code.
According to FIFA guidelines, “expats and tourists are free to wear clothing of their choice as long as it is modest and culturally appropriate.”
In the run-up to the World Cup, Qatar, where sex between men is illegal and punishable by up to three years in prison, has come under fire for its stance on LGBTQ rights.
A Human Rights Watch report published last month documented cases of Qatari security forces arbitrarily arresting LGBT people and subjecting them to “cruel treatment during detention.”
However, the country insists that “everyone is welcome” at the tournament, adding in a statement to CNN this month that “our track record has shown that we have warmly welcomed all people regardless of background”.