Photos show USA fan seized by Qatar police for wearing rainbow armband to World Cup game

Supporter removed from crunch match against Iran at the Al Thumama Stadium

Graeme Massie
Los Angeles
Tuesday 29 November 2022 20:52 GMT

Related video: Qatar World Cup organiser admits estimated 400 migrant workers have died

An American fan was seized by Qatar police and removed from the crunch World Cup game against Iran at the Al Thumama Stadium for wearing a rainbow armband.

The supporter, who has not been identified, was photographed wearing the LGBT+ armband as he was manhandled by security officers at the game on Tuesday.

It is the latest scandal for the FIFA tournament in Qatar, a country where gay men can be imprisoned and same-sex marriages are not recognised by the government.

The fan was wearing a blue and white-striped “99 Problems” shirt, which had “Unite + Strengthen” written on the arm.

Qatar’s attitude to LGBT+ issues has been an issue since it was awarded the World Cup, as well as its treatment of foreign workers who built the stadiums.

England and six European nations backed down from wearing OneLove armbands in Qatar after FIFA threatened sporting sanctions for anyone wearing it.

The country also imposed a strict alcohol ban in stadiums just days before the first game kicked off.

Meanwhile, UK sports minister Stuart Andrew wore the OneLove armband during England’s World Cup game with Wales.

Mr Andrew, who is openly gay, wore the armband in the stands at the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium and told the BBC he was not prepared to hide who he is.

“In the unique position I have, as a sports minister, I feel I have to represent everybody and to say to Fifa to please have a look at these issues,” said Mr Stewart.

“There are a lot of fans out there who want to come and support their teams. We have a great match going on tonight, it’s just sad some people feel they can’t come.”

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