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

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Soccer fans wearing the rainbow, a symbol of LGBTQ inclusivity, have said they have been refused entry to World Cup stadiums, and despite assurances from FIFA, soccer’s governing body, that visitors are allowed to express their views, they have clashed with people for Remove this sign have encountered. Their identity during Qatar matches.

According to fans, stadium security and members of the public asked American and Welsh fans to hide rainbow items from public view in official and subway areas. In some cases, fans said they were refused entry to matches unless they removed the rainbow insignia, although others reported they were able to get the rainbow symbol into the stadium without a problem.

Former Welsh footballer Laura McAllister He tweeted Security officials refused him entry to the FIFA Stadium on Monday because he was wearing a rainbow-themed fan hat. McAllister said officials told him the rainbow symbol was prohibited.

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“When we went through security, some of the guards said we had to take off the hats. When I asked them why, they said “because this symbol was banned and we weren’t allowed to wear it in the stadium.” They insisted that we weren’t actually allowed into the stadium until I took the hat off. He finally managed to get in by hiding the hat.

In a separate incident before the same match, American football writer Grant Wall said he was stopped by a security guard for wearing a rainbow shirt. Wall later said he was detained for half an hour in an “unnecessary ordeal” but was eventually allowed into the stadium. He “go gay.” He wrote on Twitter He shares a picture of the shirt with a rainbow emoticon.

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Football fans have been advised to feel free to express their identity in official match areas without repercussions, according to guidelines shared by FIFA last week. There is no danger. They welcome self-expression. “They can express their love to their partners.” “They won’t get in trouble for public displays of affection.”

It was not immediately clear Tuesday whether the body’s guidelines on rainbow symbols had changed or whether the policy was unevenly enforced during the opening days of the tournament.

At the time, FIFA clarified that its guidelines did not apply to areas outside official competition areas, where the rules are less clear.

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On Monday, soccer fan Justin Martin said he was confronted several times by fellow subway passengers while traveling to the Wales-USA match carrying a small rainbow flag, including by two men in uniform. The volunteers were wearing official FIFA. Justin Martin told The Washington Post in a phone interview that five people asked him to remove the symbol from view altogether during the subway ride, and one passenger was physically assaulted when he refused to hide the flag.

Martin, a journalism professor who lives in Qatar, said he doesn’t identify as LGBTQ but carried the symbol to show support for marginalized groups, which he was repeatedly asked by other passengers to do. delete it

I was standing on the train holding the logo and using my phone. “Two young FIFA volunteers came up to me wearing brown t-shirts that said ‘Volunteer’ on the back, and they encouraged me to put the flag down to respect the local culture.” When she refused, Martin says one of the volunteers became visibly upset and described her as “disgusting.”

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Minutes later, Martin said, another passenger again angrily demanded he remove the small badge, also becoming angry and using his body to intimidate Martin when he refused. “He physically invaded my space and pushed me into the door of the train,” Martin told the Post.

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

Two other people approached Martin during the trip to ask him to remove the symbol, Martin added.

“I’m upset. I’m afraid I’ll bring my badge to the USA-England game on Friday. It doesn’t make me feel good,” he added, stressing that the feeling of insecurity was not representative of his wider experience of Qatar.

Neither Fifa nor Qatari officials immediately responded to The Post’s request for clarification on what guidance would be given to fans who wish to display the rainbow symbol in official match areas and elsewhere in the Gulf state, where sex between men is illegal. .

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The reports add to the pressure on FIFA to address LGBT rights and show support for the community during tournaments.

On Tuesday, Foreign Secretary Anthony Blinken directly criticized the body’s decision to punish World Cup players with yellow cards if they wear rainbow armbands to support diversity and inclusion, saying it puts the world’s athletes in an impossible position. . Two yellow cards will cause a player to be ejected from the match.

The decision led to the seven European World Cup captains, those of England, Wales, Belgium, Netherlands, Switzerland, Germany and Denmark, ditching the “OneLove” armbands as a sign of solidarity with LGBTQ people.

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“From my point of view, it is always worrying when we see any restrictions on freedom of expression. “Especially when the statement is for diversity and inclusion, it’s very true,” Blinken said at a joint news conference in the capital, Doha, alongside Qatari Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani.

“No one on the football field should have 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 update: The World Cup continues on Tuesday in Qatar with four matches, where one of the greatest players of all time and the reigning champions begin their title defense. Follow our live coverage, analysis and highlights.

USMNT: Back at the World Cup, the U.S. juniors settled for a 1-1 draw against Wales in their first Group B game. The US men’s national team faces a taller task on Friday against Group B favorites England, who defeated Iran 6-2 earlier on Monday.

Qatar Controversy: Soccer fans wearing the rainbow, a symbol of LGBTQ inclusivity, have said they have been refused entry to World Cup stadiums, despite assurances from FIFA, soccer’s governing body, that visitors are freely allowed into World Cup stadiums. They have faced people to remove this badge. Express your identity during Qatar matches. Qatari authorities have arbitrarily arrested and mistreated LGBT people, in some cases as recently as last month, according to Human Rights Watch.

Groups guide: The United States men’s national soccer team, led by coach Greg Berhalter and star forward Christian Pulisic, qualified for the 2022 World Cup, an improvement over its disastrous 2018 campaign. Here’s a detailed look at how all the teams in each group are placed.



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