World Cup 2022: Fifa says Qatar stadium security have been ordered not to confiscate LGBT pride rainbow items

world cup 2022: fifa says qatar stadium security have been ordered not to confiscate lgbt pride rainbow items

A USA fan wearing a rainbow armband was escorted out of the stadium in Qatar ahead of his nation’s clash with Wales (Photo: Getty)

DOHA – Fifa insists it has been given assurances by the Supreme Committee that security managers at World Cup stadiums have been ordered not to confiscate rainbow items after yet another day of fans facing harassment and mistreatment in Qatar.

i has been aware that several banners and items of clothing that should, under promises made by the Qatar World Cup organisers and Fifa, have been permitted in stadiums were confiscated on Tuesday.

In one case, an England fan in attendance at the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium for the victory against Wales on Tuesday night, which qualified Gareth Southgate’s side for the Last 16 as group winners, had a large England flag with the official three lions symbol in rainbow colours on it taken from him.

i also revealed on Tuesday the horrifying ordeal an England fan faced on entry to the Al Bayt Stadium for Holland’s game against Qatar. Anthony Johnson was wearing a t-shirt with England’s official badge in rainbow colours and rainbow baseball cap. He was taken to a private area and forced to remove all of his clothes in a strip search. A security officials also shouted “You don’t respect our culture” at him.

Despite repeated assurances that everyone would be welcome in the country, from Qatari World Cup and government officials to Fifa representatives, what has taken place during the tournament has in no way reflected this.

Fifa appears to have lost control of its own tournament, with the governing body claiming to have made repeated attempts to urge the Supreme Committee to ensure fans wishing to support the LGBT+ community, via banners and items of clothing and accessories in rainbow colours, are able to.

Many LGBT+ fans in England decided not to travel to Qatar for the tournament, having been unconvinced by assurances from the Football Association and other authorities that they would be safe in a country where same-sex relationships are a criminal offence.

Rainbow items were confiscated from some of the first group games, with Wales supporters having rainbow bucket hats, wristbands and laces removed before they were permitted to the country’s opening game against the USA.

Fifa insisted afterwards that its officials had held talk with counterparts at the Supreme Committee and reminded them of the agreed policy of allowing rainbow items in venues. But almost two weeks into the tournament security officials at stadiums continue to ignore them.

Back in 2020, World Cup chief executive Nasser Al-Khater insisted that the rainbow symbol for gay pride would be welcome. “When it comes to the rainbow flags in the stadiums, Fifa have their own guidelines, they have their rules and regulations,” he said. “Whatever they may be, we will respect them.”

That year, Fifa’s chief social responsibility and education officer Joyce Cook also said: “I’m an openly gay woman in football, so this is personally, to me, something I’m close to as well. We will see a progressive change in all of those aspects and rainbow flags, t-shirts will all be welcome in the stadium — that’s a given. They understand very well that is our stance.”

In March this year, Fifa president Gianni Infantino claimed that “everyone will see that everyone is welcome here in Qatar, even if we speak about LGBTQ”.

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