World Cup fans in Qatar blast ‘disgusting’ FIFA for treatment

World Cup 2022 briefing: Day 7

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Wales’ LGBTQ+ Supporters Group, The Rainbow Wall, has blasted FIFA for its ‘disgusting’ treatment of the community during the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. The tournament has been wrapped up in countless controversies, none more so than Qatar’s attitude toward homosexuality and the attempted concealment of rainbow colours at games.

Many supporters and media members have had items of clothing with rainbow flags confiscated, with some denied entry into stadiums throughout the World Cup so far. However, FIFA has now told World Cup federations that the rainbow flag ‘won’t be prohibited’ for the next round of games.

Qatari authorities are understood to have given the governing body assurances that they will allow rainbow colours into stadiums. But The Rainbow Wall has unleashed its fury on FIFA, admitting they don’t believe the stance and insisting the LGBTQ+ community won’t be silenced.

It read: “Simply @FIFAcom, we still don’t believe you. Your treatment of #LGBTQ+ fans & allies this #WorldCup has been disgusting. We won’t be silenced. We are part of our Red Wall & with you all in spirit today. COME ON #CYMRU. #TogetherStronger #WeBelong #NoPrideWithoutAll.”

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The issue became so problematic at one stage that Wales fans wearing bucket hats featuring the nation’s colours – red, yellow, white and green – had them confiscated. And although FIFA has assured supporters that everyone is welcome at the World Cup, the LGBTQ+ section of the Wales faithful isn’t buying it.

Qatar’s criminalisation of homosexuality is one of several reasons why so many fans have problems with the 2022 host nation. Other issues like the treatment of the migrant workers who helped build the infrastructure and women’s rights and freedom of expression have intensified the scrutiny on the Gulf state.

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Wales may not be in Qatar for much longer after suffering a crushing 2-0 defeat against Iran at the Ahmed bin Ali Stadium on Friday. Rob Page’s side are rock-bottom of Group B on one point and will need to beat England and hope Iran and the USA draw for any chance of progression into the knockout rounds.

But for some fans, the 2022 World Cup wasn’t about the outcome. It was supposed to be a memorable occasion as the first World Cup appearance since 1958. That said, the ongoing row between Wales’ LGBTQ+ community and FIFA will have undoubtedly marred the experience for many.

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