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Qatar World Cup security demand US reporter donning LGBTQ tribute to 'change your shirt'


US sporters reporter Grant Wahl has detailed how he’s been denied entry into Wales’ game against the United States for their World Cup opener for wearing a t-shirt featuring a rainbow theme in tribute to LGBTQ+ rights. The 2022 tournament has been clouded by controversy ever since Qatar were named as the first Middle Eastern country to host a World Cup.

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

Khalid Salman, an ambassador for the World Cup, just last week described homosexuality as “a damage in the mind”. And there was a huge debate between FIFA and a number of European countries heading into the opening round of fixtures over the OneLove armband campaign.

England, France, Germany and four other European countries were planning to continue wearing the OneLove armband which features a heart-shaped multi-coloured logo. But FIFA raised the prospect of captains being shown yellow cards should the teams go ahead with wearing the armbands.

And it seems as though security around the stadiums for the World Cup have attempted to keep any LGBTQ symbols out of the stadiums altogether. Wahl is an American-based reporter and was heading into the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium for USA’s opening group game against Wales.

But he tweeted that he was being denied entry into the ground due to the t-shirt that he was wearing. He tweeted: “Just now: Security guard refusing to let me into the stadium for USA-Wales. ‘You have to change your shirt. It’s not allowed.'”

Wahl accompanied the tweet with a picture of himself wearing a t-shirt that featured a rainbow around what appeared to be a football. He was eventually allowed into the stadium and didn’t have to change his t-shirt in the end, although Wahl stated he was “detained” for half an hour.

He added: “I’m OK, but that was an unnecessary ordeal. Am in the media center, still wearing my shirt. Was detained for nearly half an hour. Go gays.” BBC pundit Alex Scott received huge praise when she appeared on TV ahead of England’s game against Iran wearing the One Love armband.

The former Three Lions star stood pitch-side while previewing the match and wore the armband in a show of solidarity with the LGBTQ community. Scott also hit out at FIFA president Gianni Infantino after his bizarre speech at 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 forward and now there’s 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] is £1.5million a year or whatever, you’ll never know what it’s like to be a migrant worker. And for families now to lose their loved ones just trying to earn some money. It’s absolutely bizarre. And for FIFA to be awarding clubs compensation over £200m for their players to be playing here, it’s absurd that you’re not even committing to a compensation fund for families.”



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