Sports

Qatar World Cup security denies entry to a reporter wearing an LGBTQ t-shirt

American sports reporter Grant Wahl has detailed how he was denied entry to Wales’ match against the United States in their World Cup debut for wearing a rainbow-themed shirt in tribute to LGBTQ+ rights. The 2022 tournament has been marred by controversy since Qatar was named as the first Middle Eastern country to host a World Cup.

Reports have pointed to the conditions in which migrant workers worked during the construction of the stadiums in the Gulf state, while multiple deaths were recorded. But LGBTQ rights have also been in the spotlight with Qatar’s illegal homosexuality under Islamic State’s Sharia law.

Khalid Salman, a World Cup ambassador, last week described homosexuality as “a damage to the mind.” And there was a big debate between FIFA and several European countries before the initial round of matches about the OneLove armband campaign.

England, France, Germany and four other European countries planned to continue using the OneLove bracelet that features a multicolored heart-shaped logo. But FIFA raised the possibility of captains receiving yellow cards if the teams continue to wear the armbands.

And it seems that the security around the stadiums for the World Cup have tried to keep any LGBTQ symbols out of the stadiums altogether. Wahl is a US-based reporter and was on his way to the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium for the US’s first group game against Wales.

But he tweeted that he was denied entry to the ground because of the T-shirt he was wearing. He tweeted: “Just now: Security refuses to let me into stadium for USA-Wales. ‘You have to change your jersey. Not allowed.'”

Wahl accompanied the tweet with a photo of himself wearing a T-shirt that featured a rainbow around what appeared to be a soccer ball. Eventually, he was allowed into the stadium and didn’t have to change his jersey at the end, though Wahl said he was “detained” for half an hour.

He added: “I’m fine, but it was an unnecessary test. I’m in the media center, still in my shirt. They detained me for almost half an hour. Go, gays.” BBC pundit Alex Scott received high praise when she appeared on television ahead of England’s match against Iran wearing the One Love armband.

The former Three Lions star stood pitchside while watching the match and wore the armband in a show of solidarity with the LGBTQ community. Scott also criticized FIFA president Gianni Infantino following his bizarre speech over the weekend.

She said: “What the FIFA president said right there is confusing and absolutely bizarre. How can you say: ‘Today I am a migrant worker’? No, you are not and you never will be. Yes, you have moved on and now there are a minimum wage in this country that happened in the last two years, but it’s £1 an hour, £240 a month.

“Your salary [Infantino] it’s £1.5 million a year or whatever, you’ll never know what it’s like to be a migrant worker. And for the families now losing their loved ones they are just trying to make some money. It’s absolutely bizarre. And for FIFA to award clubs compensation of over £200m for their players to play here, it’s absurd that they won’t even commit to a compensation fund for families.”



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