England fan stripped fully naked in search after wearing rainbow colours to match

An England supporter says he was subjected to a lengthy strip-search and initially prevented from entering a World Cup stadium because he was wearing rainbow colours.

Anthony Johnson, who is a member of England’s official travel club, was trying to enter the Al Bayt Stadium in Qatar for the Netherlands’ match against the hosts on Monday. He was wearing a T-shirt that had England’s badge in rainbow colours on and a baseball cap which is a part of the Football Association’s “black pride splatter” merchandise range.

Johnson, who had attended eight matches at the tournament before Monday without issue, says he was denied entry and forced to remove all his clothes. He was told the situation was due to having metal on his body, but believes it was actually due to a different reason.

He told inews : “They said I had some metal on me and ushered me into a private area where they asked me to first take off my shorts, then my shoes, then take my pants down then my underwear then strip fully naked.

“Throughout, the guy was wand-ing my body and my clothes. He was almost apologetic by the end because it was obvious to us both he wouldn’t find anything.”

After going through that 10-minute ordeal, Johnson was then detained for even longer, with his cap proving to be an issue to the security officials. He was prevented from entering the stadium once again before finally being released after a policeman intervened.

england fan stripped fully naked in search after wearing rainbow colours to match

England fans arrive at the stadium prior to the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Group B match between England and IR Iran at Khalifa International Stadium

“There were up to seven people standing around me – four police, the one guy in a FIFA uniform and two in traditional Qatari dress,” he added.

“He asked me to remove my hat. I said that I was entitled to wear it and that Fifa had confirmed only three days ago that rainbow flags and dress were acceptable in stadiums. He said ‘We don’t care what Fifa say, we decide what comes in’.”

Mirror Football have approached FIFA for comment. This is far from the first time a supporter has had issues getting into stadiums at the World Cup, with people wearing OneLove armbands, Wales fans in rainbow bucket hats, and even a man wearing a T-shirt depicting Michelangelo’s David, facing difficulties.

Earlier this week, Qatar World Cup chief Hassan Al-Thawadi repeated the party line. “From day one, we have said everybody is welcome,” he told talkSPORT on Monday. “We have also asked for people to come and respect our culture, our religion.

“It’s not a Qatari culture or Qatari religion, these values are regional. It’s for the Islamic world, the Arab world, the Middle East.

“We want everybody from every walk of life to come here and you’ve got people from every corner of the world engaging, educating themselves and having a good time.

“But when it comes to a topic like this, it is a complicated topic. This is something for us, or at least for this part of the world, that is a fundamental part of religious values.”

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