One Love armbands will not be allowed to be worn on the field during the World Cup, but signs of solidarity with the LGBTQI community are said to be tolerated in the stands. Fans are now reporting the opposite experience in Qatar.
A German football fan apparently got into trouble with the police because of a bandage and a sweatband in rainbow colors during the World Cup match between the Netherlands and Senegal. "In the middle of the second half, I was escorted from my seat by four police officers and stood in the catacombs surrounded by ten to 15 police officers who asked me to take off my bandage," said sports student Bengt Kunkel. He was told: "We'll either take your bandage and sweatband or we'll take you with us. Then of course I gave it up."
Kunkel emphasized that he wanted to set an example. "Gianni Infantino had said that rainbow ties and rainbow flags were allowed in the stadium. Then he should keep his word. But that wasn't the case." His belongings were thrown in the garbage. FIFA had announced that rainbow flags would be allowed around stadiums. Before the start of the World Cup, FIFA President Infantino said in a highly acclaimed and heavily criticized monologue: "I can confirm that everyone is welcome here," he said. "It is a clear requirement of FIFA that everyone who comes here must be welcome. It doesn't matter what religion, skin color or sexual orientation they have." The Qatari government is sticking to it, according to the FIFA boss.
At the end of the meeting, FIFA spokesman Bryan Swanson said he had heard a lot of criticism of Infantino, "especially from the LGBTQI community". "I'm sitting here as a gay man, on a global stage, here in Qatar, and we've received guarantees that everyone is welcome," said the 42-year-old Briton on the podium.
The Football Association of Wales (FAW) sharply criticized the incidents. The FAW said that they were extremely disappointed with the corresponding reports. Accordingly, association members were also asked to take off their hats before the game and throw them away before they were allowed entry. The hats were made in cooperation with the FAW. The association said that information about the incident had been collected and that they would complain directly to FIFA. Among the viewers affected was the former Welsh national soccer player Laura McAllister, who reported on itv.
The Qatari side said wearing rainbow colored clothing was not a problem for them. Yesterday there was a misunderstanding on the part of the security forces. However, the spectators dressed in this way still came to the stadium. The teams from Islamic countries had the plan to wear symbols against Islamophobia. That was also forbidden by the world association FIFA.
Meanwhile, Brazilian journalist Victor Pereira documented a similar incident involving Qatari police officers: "We were approached about the flag of Pernambuco (Brazilian state - ed.) which shows a rainbow and they thought it was the LGBT flag . They took the flag of Pernambuco, threw it on the ground and trampled on it. They took my phone away and didn't give it back until I deleted the video I had."
(This article was first published on Tuesday, November 22, 2022.)