Soccer fans wearing rainbow flags confronted at Qatar’s World Cup 2022


Footballers wearing the rainbow, an LGBTQ-inclusive symbol, said they were refused entry to World Cup stadiums and members of the public faced pressure to remove the symbol, despite assurances from FIFA. , the football governing body, and guests will be allowed to comment. their identity during the competition in Qatar.

Sports safety and public groups have asked the Americans and Welsh to hide rainbow items in public, fans said, in government areas and on subways. In some cases, fans said they were refused entry to games unless they removed the rainbow logo, while others said they could carry the rainbow logo into the stadium without the print.

Former Wales footballer Laura McAllister tweeted and he was refused entry to the FIFA Stadium on Monday by security because he was wearing a rainbow-themed supporters’ hat. McAllister said he was told by officials that the rainbow logo was banned, according to an interview with ITV News.

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“When we got to security, some security officials said we have to take the hat off. When I asked them why, they said ‘because it’s a banned symbol, and we’re not allowed to wear it in “Stadium,” he said. “They insisted that unless I took the hat off, we were not allowed to enter the stadium.” He was finally able to get in by covering the cap.

In a separate incident before the game, American football writer Grant Wahl said he was stopped by a defender for wearing a shirt with a rainbow on it. Wahl later said he was held for about half an hour in “unnecessary suffering” but was later allowed to enter the arena. “Go gays,” he said wrote on Twitter use the rainbow emoji, sharing images of shirts.

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According to FIFA guidelines distributed as recently as last week, football fans are advised to be free to express their identity within official competition areas without consequences. “There is no danger; they are allowed to express themselves; they are allowed to show their love for their partners,” Gerdine Lindhout, FIFA’s head of experience, told ITV News Wednesday. “They will not get into trouble for public displays of affection.”

It was not immediately clear Tuesday whether the guidelines for the body and the rainbow logo had changed or if the rule was incorrectly applied on the opening day of the tournament.

At the time, FIFA explained that its guidelines did not apply to areas outside the official competition area, where the rules were unclear.

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On Monday, footballer Justin Martin said he was met several times by fellow train passengers on his way to the Wales-US match carrying small rainbow flags, including two men dressed as FIFA volunteers. Five people asked him to remove the sign during the train ride and the rally, Justin Martin told The Washington Post in a phone interview, and one passenger was frustrated when he refused to hide the flag.

Martin, a journalism professor who lives in Qatar, said he does not identify as LGBTQ but carries the sign as a show of support for marginalized groups after being repeatedly asked by other travelers to remove him.

“I was sitting on the train, with a sign in my hand, using my phone. I was approached by two young FIFA volunteers in maroon T-shirts that said ‘volunteer’ on the back and urged me to remove the flag to respect local culture. “When he asked, Martin said one of the prominent volunteers became angry and described him as “disgusting.”

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A few minutes later, Martin said, another passenger angrily asked him to remove the small sign, becoming confused and threatening Martin with his body when he refused. “He physically came into my hole and I was pushed against the train door,” Martin told The Post, who said the man followed him into the train car while filming.

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A football fan who witnessed the exchange shared Martin’s account of the altercation with the Post in a separate interview.

Two other people also approached Martin while he was on his way to ask him to remove the sign, Martin added.

“I’m sad. I’m afraid to bring my score to the USA-England game on Friday,” he said. “It doesn’t make me feel good,” he added, stressing. and the experience of feeling unsafe is not representative of his wider experience of Qatar.

Neither FIFA nor Qatari officials responded immediately on Tuesday to a request from The Post to clarify what guidelines exist for players who want to display the rainbow symbol both in official competition areas and elsewhere in the Persian Gulf state, where sex between boys are illegitimate.

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These reports add to the pressure on FIFA for the management of LGBTQ rights and statements of community support during the tournament, of which the rainbow has become a particularly attractive symbol.

On Tuesday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken immediately criticized the decision to punish international footballers with yellow cards if they wear rainbow armbands in support of diversity and inclusion – saying that it puts world players in an impossible position. Two yellow cards result in the expulsion of a player from the game.

The decision led to the seven leaders of the European World Cup, England, Wales, Belgium, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Germany and Denmark, to hold the arms “OneLove” to show solidarity with LGBTQ people.

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“It always concerns me when we see any restrictions on freedom of speech; it is especially when the issue is about diversity and about inclusion,” Blinken said at a joint press conference in the capital, Doha, alongside Qatari Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani.

“No one in football should be forced to choose between upholding these values ​​and playing for their team,” Blinken said.

John Hudson in Doha contributed to this report.

World Cup in Qatar

Live updates: The World Cup continues in Qatar on Tuesday with four matches involving one of the most dangerous players in history and the reigning champion begins to defend his title. Follow our live coverage, reviews and commentary.

USMNT: In their return to the World Cup, the young Americans were held to a 1-1 draw against Wales in their Group B opener. The US national team will face a tall task on Friday against Group B favorite England, which destroyed Iran, 6-2, earlier Monday.

Qatar Conflict: Footballers wearing the rainbow, a symbol of LGBTQ inclusion, said they were refused entry to World Cup stadiums and faced by the public to remove the symbol, despite assurances from FIFA, the football association, and the visitors will be allowed to be free. announced their names during the tournament in Qatar. Qatari officials have arbitrarily arrested and mistreated LGBT people, in some cases as recently as last month, Human Rights Watch said.

Group instructions: The US men’s soccer team, led by coach Gregg Berhalter and star player Christian Pulisic, qualified for the 2022 World Cup, a boost from a disastrous and unsuccessful 2018 campaign. Here’s a look at how all the members in each group stack up.


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