American soccer reporter Grant Wahl claimed he was denied entry to a World Cup stadium in Qatar for wearing a rainbow jersey.
The World Cup in Qatar has faced criticism for ‘sports laundering’ due to the host nation’s poor human rights record, particularly its treatment of the LGBTQ+ community.
In Qatar, male homosexuality is punishable by imprisonment and the government does not recognize same-sex marriages.
Just this month, a World Cup ambassador from Qatar told a German television station that homosexuality was “harm to the mind” and that being gay remains illegal in the conservative Muslim country.
Wahl attended the United States’ World Cup opener against Wales on Monday and wore a black T-shirt with a rainbow-colored circle that wrapped around a soccer ball on the front, in support of the LGBTQ+ community.
He took to Twitter to claim that he was initially denied entry to the Ahmed bin Ali Stadium in Al Rayyan.
American soccer reporter Grant Wahl has claimed he was denied entry to a World Cup stadium in Qatar for wearing a rainbow jersey before the United States’ first game against Wales on Monday.
USA kicks off campaign at Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium in Al Rayyan at 2 pm ET
He posted: ‘Just now: Security guard refusing to let me into stadium for USA-Wales. “You have to change your shirt. It’s not allowed.”‘
Around 50 minutes later, he reposted to reassure fans and social media users, revealing that he had been in detention for almost half an hour.
He added: ‘I’m fine, but it was an unnecessary test. I’m in the media center, still in my T-shirt. He was detained for almost half an hour. Go homosexuals.
In a post on his placeWahl also revealed that shortly after he sent his first tweet, security personnel “forcibly ripped his phone from his hands.”
Wahl later revealed that he was finally allowed into the media center after being detained for almost half an hour and assured social media users that he was fine.
One security guard reportedly told Wahl that his shirt was “political” and therefore not allowed, while another refused to return the phone.
Wahl revealed that Andrew Das, a New York Times reporter, walked by and was also detained after Wahl informed him of what was happening.
Das was eventually let go, while Wahl was asked if he was from the UK, to which he informed them that he was from New York.
A security commander eventually arrived on the scene and apologized to Wahl before letting him go. Wahl said a FIFA official also apologized.
Christian Pulisic and Co.’s first game against the Dragons begins at 2 pm ET on Monday.
Wahl’s tweet comes amid yet another tournament scandal after FIFA revealed that team captains could face a booking and possible suspension if they follow through on their decision to wear the OneLove rainbow bracelet in solidarity. with the LGBT+ community.
The captains of nine European nations, including the USA’s Group B rivals Harry Kane of England and Gareth Bale of Wales, planned to wear One Love armbands that promote LGBTQ+ inclusion and rights in Qatar, a country that criminalizes same-sex relationships.
England and six European nations have since confirmed that they will not wear the OneLove armbands in Qatar after FIFA threatened sporting sanctions for those who wear them.
The decision was made that England captain Harry Kane would not wear the One Love armband
The FA made the call amid fears the England skipper would be immediately booked for it.
The English FA had expected a fine for breaching FIFA’s statutes, but the possibility of Kane being booked, and therefore facing suspension, was a scenario that concerned English soccer’s governing body.
The Three Lions’ talismanic striker did not wear the armband in his opening game against Iran in Group B USA.
FIFA has strict rules on what clothing players can wear and the armband is not allowed by code.
The start of the tournament has already turned into something of a farce after a series of controversies in recent days, including a last-minute alcohol ban, a largely empty stadium for the opening ceremony and thousands of people involved in a crowd to enter the FIFA fan zones. .
The tournament had several controversies in the making, including a last-minute alcohol ban.
The fan festival is one of the few places in the host country where visiting fans can purchase alcohol.
The oil-rich nation has faced a barrage of criticism over its treatment of foreign workers, LGBT rights and social restrictions, putting its reputation for a quiet tournament on the line. He has been accused of trying to stage the World Cup with ‘fake fans’ to give positive coverage.
The United States made its own big statement last week when it redesigned its shield to incorporate the rainbow flag, in a bid to show solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community.
However, the USMNT appears to have taken a position immediately upon arrival in Doha, by swapping out the usual red stripes on their crest for a rainbow one around their team’s base.
Images from Al Gharrafa SC Stadium in Al Rayyan, where the US team trained last Monday, showed a huge US crest on the wall, along with the slogan ‘One Nation’.
The US national team crest was changed from its usual red to rainbow colors last week.
Before the change, the stripes on the flag were all red, but now they are the colors of the rainbow.
It is understood that the crest on the team’s uniforms on the field will not be changed, but the new colors will be displayed at their practice facilities.
Neil Buethe, USMNT director of communications, told DailyMail.com: ‘Our rainbow badge plays an important and ongoing role in the identity of US Soccer.
“As part of our approach to any match or event, we include the rainbow brand to support and embrace the LGBTQ community, as well as promote a spirit of inclusion and welcome to all fans around the world.
“As a result, the locations we will manage and operate at the FIFA World Cup, such as the team hotel, media areas and parties, will feature the traditional and rainbow branding of US Soccer.”