Doha: A World Cup journalist from the US claimed that he was detained for a brief period on Monday for wearing a rainbow t-shirt, that represents support for the LGBTQ+ community. Notably, homosexuality is illegal in the Muslim nation. Grant Wahl, a former Sports Illustrated journalist noted that the incident happened when he tried to enter a stadium while wearing the rainbow t-shirt.
Free to read: What happened when Qatar World Cup security detained me for 25 minutes for wearing a t-shirt supporti… t.co/FPJNz5nrlW
— ANI (@ANI) Nov 21, 2022
‘You have to change your t-shirt, it’s not allowed here’
“‘You have to change your t-shirt, it’s not allowed here’, a guard told me,” said Wahl, as he described that he was stopped from entering the stadium. Wahl further noted that his phone was confiscated too.
“One security guard told me that my shirt was ‘political’ and not allowed. Another continually refused to give me back my phone,” noted Wahl.
Wahl further noted that one of his friends, a reporter from the New York Times was passing by when he stopped him and narrated the incident, afterwards, he was detained too.
The NYT reporter, however, was released shortly after.
“And then a security commander approached me. He said they were letting me through and apologized. We shook hands. One of the security guards told me they were just trying to protect me from fans inside who could harm me for wearing the shirt,” said Wahl.
Wahl further said that a FIFA rep issued an apology for the incident later. “Both FIFA and US Soccer representatives told me publicly that rainbows on shirts and flags would not be a problem at the Qatar World Cup. The problem is they don’t control this World Cup. The Qatari regime does, and it keeps moving the goalposts,” Wahl wrote in a separate tweet.
Notably, concerns had been raised for the people from the LGBTQ+ community visiting the Muslim nation for the World Cup given the country’s strict laws over the same.