After a US journalist was briefly detained for entering a World Cup stadium in Qatar wearing a rainbow shirt, many Welsh football fans donning rainbow bucket hats were similarly stopped from entering the Ahmad bin Ali Stadium on Monday night. While many fans were confronted by security for bringing the hats into the stadium, others have had them seized, The Guardian reported. The rainbow version of Welsh fan hats shows support for the LGBTQ+ community. However, homosexuality is illegal in Qatar.
Laura McAllister, a former Wales footballer, was among those to have a rainbow-coloured bucket hat taken away before entering the stadium. Footage has surfaced online showing officials asking her to remove the rainbow hat and that it was considered a restricted item, and would need to be handed in, BBC Wales reported. The incident comes despite previous assurances that fans would be allowed to wear them.
Sharing her experience, she took to Twitter and wrote, "So, despite fine words from @FIFAWorldCup before event @Cymru rainbow Bucket hats confiscated at the stadium, mine included. I had a conversation about this with stewards - we have video evidence. This #WorldCup2022 just gets better but we will continue to stand up for our values.''
So, despite fine words from @FIFAWorldCup before event @Cymru rainbow Bucket hats confiscated at stadium, mine included. I had a conversation about this with stewards - we have video evidence. This #WorldCup2022 just gets better but we will continue stand up for our values 🌈— Laura McAllister 🌻 🏴 (@LauraMcAllister) November 21, 2022
Wales' Rainbow Wall, a group of LGBTQ+ supporters, also took to Twitter to confirm the news that the supporters had their hats taken from them. "Our rainbow bucket hat. We are so proud of them, BUT news on the ground tonight is our welsh female supporters wearing them in #Qatar are having them taken off them, Not the men, just Women,'' the tweet read.
Later, the tweet was updated to inform that Rainbow Hats had been confiscated from the men also.
Our rainbow bucket hat. We are so proud of them, BUT news on the ground tonight is our welsh female supporters wearing them in #Qatar are having them taken off them, Not the men, just Women. @FIFAcom ARE YOU SERIOUS !!#LGBTQRights 🏴🏳️🌈🏳️⚧️#WeBelong | #NoPrideWithoutAllpic.twitter.com/bvo9y51WzG— The Rainbow Wall 🏳️🌈🏳️⚧️🏴 (@TheRainbowWall) November 21, 2022
Previously, Grant Wahl, a former Sports Illustrated journalist who now has his own website, said World Cup security denied him entry to the United States opener against Wales at the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium in Al Rayyan and asked him to take his rainbow T-shirt off. "You have to change your shirt. It's not allowed," Grant Wahl tweeted that he was told. He later alleged that his phone was taken away when he tweeted about the incident. Later, a security commander approached him, apologized and allowed him into the venue, according to a Reuters report.
Just now: Security guard refusing to let me into the stadium for USA-Wales. “You have to change your shirt. It's not allowed.” pic.twitter.com/TvSGThMYq8— Subscribe to GrantWahl.com (@GrantWahl) November 21, 2022
Another US supporter was also threatened on the Metro travelling to the stadium for carrying a small rainbow flag. The man, who appeared to be a Qatar supporter, threatened to "kill" the man, warned the flag "was not allowed" and said "that flag is banned in this country", Express.co.uk said in a report.