IF you’re wearing anything rainbow-coloured at the Qatar World Cup, you’re asking for unnecessary trouble.
Several overseas fans reportedly said they were asked by security officials at Qatar 2022 to remove the rainbow-colored items that they were wearing as they made their way to watch the World Cup matches.
The global channel CNN reportedly witnessed the conclusion to the incident at the Msheireb Metro Station, in Doha, as some refused to hand over the items. The rainbow-colours are allegedly a symbol of LGBTQ+ pride.
But some were reportedly let off on condition that they put the rainbow-colored items in their pockets.
“Out of nowhere. They took my friend quite aggressively on the arm and pushed him away from the crowd and told him to take it [the armband] off,” a German fan, who declined to be named, recounted details of the incident shortly after it happened.
Since the World Cup started, Qatar has been criticised for its stance on same-sex relationships, human rights record and treatment of migrant workers.
RELAXED RULES NOW
The issues surrounding LGBTQ+ rights for the Gulf state, world soccer governing body FIFA, has relaxed on the row and assured fans that LGBTQ+ rainbow colors are now allowed. This follows an exchange with a few national federations.
When asked to clarify the dress code for fans, FIFA referred to the tournament handbook, which states “expats and tourists are free to wear the clothing of their choice, as long as it is modest and respectful to the culture.”
* Suresh Nair is an award-winning sports journalist who is also a qualified international coach and international referee instructor.
Here are more stories related to the FIFA World Cup.