Fifa tells Qatar to stop preventing fans from bringing items featuring rainbow symbol into World Cup stadiums

22 November 2022, 19:03 | Updated: 22 November 2022, 19:47

Fifa has reminded World Cup hosts Qatar about the policy of allowing items featuring the rainbow symbol into stadia after some were removed from fans on entry.
Fifa has reminded World Cup hosts Qatar about the policy of allowing items featuring the rainbow symbol into stadia after some were removed from fans on entry. Picture: Alamy / LBC

By Chris Samuel

Fifa has reminded World Cup hosts Qatar about the policy of allowing items featuring the rainbow symbol into stadia, after a number of fans had items removed upon entry.

Several female Wales supporters - including former Wales skipper Laura McAllister, claimed they had rainbow-coloured bucket hats confiscated when they entered the Ahmad bin Ali Stadium for the Dragons' opening group game against the United States.

It was reported that other fans had rainbow laces and wristbands removed. An American journalist also said he was detained after attempting to enter the stadium with a rainbow t-shirt.

The man later confirmed that a security official had apologised and allowed him in, receiving a further apology from a Fifa official.

i reported that meetings have taken place with Supreme Committee - the organisers of the World Cup - following a series of controversial incidents.

It's reported that Fifa made clear its stance that everyone is welcome at the tournament and that items featuring the rainbow shouldn't be removed from supporters at venues.

England skipper Harry Kane could miss England's final group game if he defies Fifa armband ban
England skipper Harry Kane could miss England's final group game if he defies Fifa armband ban. Picture: Alamy / PA

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Incidents that were reported to the international governing body of football from Monday have been addressed, the outlet reported, and the discussions are ongoing.

The decision to award the World Cup to Qatar, where homosexuality is a criminal offence, has been widely condemned.

Welsh LGBTQ+ fan group, The Rainbow Wall, claimed that only women had the rainbow hats taken away ahead of match, tweeting: “Not the men, just women. @FIFAcom ARE YOU SERIOUS!!”.

Speaking to BBC Breakfast, McAllister said her treatment “was pretty heavy handed”, though it didn't stop her sneaking the hat into the stadium.

“I certainly wasn’t going to give it up,” she said. “It’s an important symbol of everything that we’re about in Welsh football at the moment and hopefully the wider nation.”

Qatar has come under fire for cracking down on rainbow items throughout the tournament
Qatar has come under fire for cracking down on rainbow items throughout the tournament. Picture: Alamy

The Welsh Football Association has launched an investigation into the matter.

“The FAW has collated information on these alleged incidents and will be addressing this matter directly with Fifa today (Tuesday),” it said.

It's thought there is video evidence of supporters having items removed.

After Wales' 1-1 draw with USA, manager Rob Page was asked about supporters being denied entry. “I wasn’t aware of it," he said. "It’s a shame they weren’t allowed to bring them in.”

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