FIFA World Cup 2022: US Journalist Denied Entry Into Stadium For Wearing Rainbow Shirt, Briefly Detained

The journalist later received an apology from a representative of FIFA, soccer's international governing body.

FIFA World Cup 2022: US Journalist Denied Entry Into Stadium For Wearing Rainbow Shirt, Briefly Detained
FIFA World Cup 2022: The journalist shared the incident on Twitter and also posted a picture of himself with the rainbow shirt. (Photo: @GrantWahl Twitter)

A US journalist said he was briefly detained on Monday when he tried to enter a World Cup stadium in Qatar while wearing a rainbow shirt in support of the LGBTQ community in a country where same-sex relations are illegal.

Grant Wahl, a former Sports Illustrated journalist who now has his own website, said World Cup security denied him entry to the United States' opener against Wales at the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium in Al Rayyan and asked him to take his shirt off. He said his phone was taken away when he tweeted about the incident.

"I'm OK, but that was an unnecessary ordeal," Wahl wrote on Twitter.

He said a security commander later approached him, apologized and allowed him into the venue. He also later received an apology from a representative of FIFA, soccer's international governing body, he said. Reuters has contacted FIFA for comment.

"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 tweeted attaching a reply from FIFA. 

Seven European World Cup countries earlier on Monday ditched plans for their respective captains to wear OneLove armbands after FIFA threatened to issue yellow cards to any player wearing the multi-coloured armband, which was introduced to support diversity and inclusion.

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