Football’s governing body FIFA are now set to allow rainbow hats and flags into World Cup stadiums in a policy U-turn.
Earlier this week, Welsh football fans claimed that their rainbow hats were “confiscated” in Qatar ahead of their World Cup match with the USA on Monday (November 21). In a statement, the Football Association of Wales (FAW) said it was “extremely disappointed” that fans were told to remove the hats, and that it planned to address the matter with FIFA.
The news came after it was announced that England and Wales would no longer wear ‘OneLove’ armbands during matches, which were designed as a gesture to support LGBT+ rights, but has now seen teams threatened with sanctions by FIFA for wearing them. At their match with Japan, the German team protested by wearing rainbows on their boots and training kit and covering their mouths in a team photo.
Now, on the day Wales played Iran in their second Group B match, the FAW has confirmed that an agreement has been reached with FIFA for their fans to be able to wear rainbow-coloured items of clothing and carry flags.
An FAW statement said: “The FAW urges FIFA to adhere to their message that everybody will be welcome in Qatar during the World Cup and continue to highlight any further human rights issues. We remain with the belief that football is for everyone.”
The 2022 World Cup is being held in and around the Qatari capital city of Doha, and is being held amid ongoing criticism regarding the death of migrant workers in the creation of stadiums and the country’s views on homosexuality.
Since it began last weekend (November 20), the competition has been mired in controversy. England manager Gareth Southgate previously promised that his players would speak out about human rights abuses during the tournament, but were unable to wear the ‘OneLove’ armbands due to the threat of sporting sanctions.
Beer was also banned from being served in stadiums during the tournament in an unexpected and last-minute U-turn, while comedian Joe Lycett made headlines when he appeared to shred £10,000 in protest of David Beckham’s reported £10million deal with Qatar to promote the World Cup despite his supposed allyship of the gay community.
Elsewhere in the music world, Robbie Williams has defended his decision to perform as part of this year’s World Cup, saying it’d be “hypocritical” for him not to go to Qatar “because of the places that I do go to”.
Numerous artists have distanced themselves from the World Cup though, including Dua Lipa and Rod Stewart, while Melanie C has said she “wouldn’t be comfortable” performing at the 2022 World Cup as an LGBTQ+ ally.