Soccer

Alex Scott calls out Qatar and FIFA for broken LGBTQ+ promises

World Cup: Danish journalist told to remove 'One Love' armband

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Alex Scott has called out FIFA and the repressive Qatari authorities over broken promises to the LGBTQ+ community and its allies at the World Cup. Police and security have confiscated rainbow-coloured, pro-LGBTQ+ items inside stadiums at the tournament, while seven nations were forced to back down over wearing a ‘OneLove’ captain’s armband. 

Fans have been displaying flags and sporting items of clothing featuring pro-LGBTQ+ colours and messaging in protest over Qatar’s treatment of the community. Qatar law calls for a prison sentence of one to three years for “inducing or seducing a male or a female in any way to commit illegal or immoral actions”.

There have been several incidents of fans and journalists having items of clothing confiscated by security. The Football Association of Wales has contacted FIFA after rainbow-coloured bucket hats were not allowed into the Ahmed bin Ali Stadium for their draw with the USA on Monday. US journalist Grant Wahl claims to have been told to remove a t-shirt featuring a rainbow-coloured heart. 

Former Arsenal defender turned BBC pundit Scott has fired digs at FIFA and the Qatari authorities over their initial promises to the LGBTQ+ community. Rules set out at the start of the tournament have not been adhered to by the Qatari authorities. 

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“Love will always conquer hate,” Scott tweeted alongside a picture of promises made to fans who wished to display support to minority groups. One of the rules reads: “Persons displaying the rainbow or other sexual identity flags will neither be approached, detained, nor prosecuted.”

Another says: “People displaying signs of affection in the streets, at FFF or in the stadiums will neither be approached, detained nor prosecuted.”

The final promise reads: “Discussing and promoting LGBTQI+ rights in the Fan Festival/publicly including comments by players is permitted.”

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The document was issued by FIFA but says it is in alignment with the Qatar Safety and Security Committee on its police response. 

Each of the three pledges have been broken. Former Wales international Laura McAllister had a rainbow-coloured, Welsh-branded bucket hat confiscated, while the Football Association of Wales have sought clarification from FIFA after members of their staff suffered the same treatment. 

The bucket hats have long been part of Wales fans’ attire for several tournaments. “The Football Association of Wales (FAW) were extremely disappointed by reports that members of Y Wal Goch, which included FAW staff members, were asked to remove and discard their Rainbow Wall bucket hats before entry to the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium. These bucket hats were created in partnership with the FAW,” the association said. 

“The FAW has collated information on these alleged incidents and will be addressing this matter directly with Fifa today (November 22). The FAW will not be releasing any further comment at this stage.”

It came on the same day that seven European nations – including England and Wales – were told their captain’s faced ‘sporting sanctions’ if their captains entered the field wearing ‘OneLove’ armbands. With Kane unable to wear the armband, Scott donned it during the BBC’s coverage of the Three Lions’ 6-2 rout of Iran. 

A Danish journalist has since been told to remove the same armband by a Qatari security officer live on television. Kane and Wales skipper Gareth Bale instead wore FIFA-sanctioned armbands. 

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