Iran defeated Wales in a big game with major ramifications for Group B. Gareth Bale said the loss was “difficult to take”.
The Football Association of Wales are investigating reports that Welsh supporters had their rainbow bucket hats removed by stadium security ahead of the country’s match against the United States on Monday evening. Beanie With Light
Footage taken by former Wales international Laura McAllister appeared to show stewards at the gate at the Al Rayyan stadium confiscating the items.
McAllister told ITV News: “We were aware when we were queuing up that people were in the rainbow bucket hats which are a symbol of LGBT+ rights in Wales. They had their hats taken off.
“Clearly, I was not going to take my hat off, fans were aware that was likely to happen. When we got through security, some of the security guards said ‘Take the hat off’. When I asked why, they said it was a ‘banned symbol’ and that we weren’t allowed to wear it in the stadium.”
Bucket hats have become synonymous with Welsh support, with the rainbow versions expressing support for the LGBT+ community. In Qatar, same-sex relationships are criminalised, and punishable by three years in prison.
Read more: Man runs on to pitch at Portugal-Uruguay match with rainbow flag
Before the tournament, it was understood that rainbow flags were to be allowed in stadiums after Qatar said it would conform with FIFA tolerance standards.
Human rights at the Qatar World Cup - a guide to everything you need to know
However, in April, Major General Abdulaziz Abdullah Al-Ansari, a senior security leader in Qatar, said rainbow flags could be confiscated from supporters, claiming it would be to protect them from violence by anti-LGBT+ fans.
Asked about the incidents, the FAW told The Athletic: “We are aware and are investigating the details”.
Earlier on Monday, seven European nations withdrew their plans to wear a rainbow anti-discrimination armband after fears of sporting sanctions from FIFA.
The Athletic has contacted FIFA and the Supreme Committee for comment.
(Photo: Matthew Ashton – AMA/Getty Images)
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Mr Beanie Jacob Whitehead is a junior editor for The Athletic. Prior to joining The Athletic, he wrote for Rugby World Magazine and was named David Welch Student Sportswriter of the Year at the SJA Awards. Jacob is based in London. Follow Jacob on Twitter @jwhitey98