WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
- A soccer journalist from the U.S. was stopped from attending a World Cup match because of his rainbow shirt.
- Grant Wahl said that a security guard detained him and asked him to remove his shirt.
- Fifa has reportedly threatened sanctions for players who wore OneLove armbands to matches.
Grant Wahl, a soccer journalist who writes for CBS Sports and a Substack column, shared his experience of being detained by World Cup security staff for wearing a rainbow shirt to the USA team’s opening match against Wales.
Wahl said that he wore the shirt to show support for the LGBTQ+ community. In Qatar, this year’s host country for the World Cup, it’s illegal to be homosexual.
He said that a security guard stopped him from entering the Ahmad bin Ali Stadium.
Wahl said that a guard “forcibly ripped” his phone from him as he tweeted about his experience. He later shared that he was detained for 25 minutes. He was asked if he hailed from the U.K. Security told him to take off his shirt, which they said was “political.”
Walk wrote in his Substack column that a security commander later allowed him through, apologized, and shook his hand. He shared, “One of the security guards told me they were just trying to protect me from fans inside who could harm me for wearing the shirt … A Fifa rep later apologized to me as well.”
Wahl said that his experience made him wonder what happened to locals who wore a similar shirt “when the world isn’t watching.”
Some members of an LGBTQ+ group supporting Wales also said that they were told to remove their rainbow hats.
The threat of sanctions prompted seven European countries, including England and Wales, to heed the rule. They were reportedly told by Fifa that their captains could be booked or told to leave the pitch if they wear OneLove armbands during matches.
Stonewall, an LGBTQ+ charity, accused Fifa of “brushing criticism of human rights abuses under the carpet” by threatening to sanction players who try to spread awareness through the #OneLove armbands.
They continued, “LGBTQ+ people are criminalized in Qatar just for being themselves. No country which abuses the human rights of its people in this way should have been awarded with the honor of hosting a major sporting tournament in the first place.”
The group thanked players from the England and Wales teams for shining light on the “human rights abuses of LGBTQ+ people in Qatar,” and cautioned them to speak out “as best and safely as they can.”
Source: The Guardian