FAW to meet with Fifa after supporters in Qatar had rainbow bucket hats confiscated
The Football Association of Wales (FAW) says it will discuss the issue of rainbow bucket hats being confiscated before the opening World Cup match against the USA with Fifa today.
Wales’ Rainbow Wall, a group of LGBTQ+ supporters, tweeted that female supporters wearing the hats have had them confiscated before Wales’ match against the USA on Monday evening.
Laura McAllister, a former Wales captain and Professor at Cardiff University, said that she had also had her rainbow bucket hat taken from her.
A statement from the FAW says members of staff were among those asked to remove the hats, a symbol of LGBTQ+ rights, and that they were collecting information on alleged incidents and would be addressing them directly with Fifa on Tuesday.
The FAW said: “On Monday, Cymru returned to the Fifa World Cup for the first time in 64 years, an historic moment for the squad, the valued fans – the Red Wall / Y Wal Goch – and the nation.
“However, the Football Association of Wales (FAW) were extremely disappointed by reports that members of Y Wal Goch, which included FAW staff members, were asked to remove and discard their Rainbow Wall bucket hats before entry to the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium. These bucket hats were created in partnership with the FAW.
“The FAW has collated information on these alleged incidents and will be addressing this matter directly with Fifa today (November 22).
“The FAW will not be releasing any further comment at this stage.”
Ms McAllister said she was furious at being told to take her hat off but told ITV it was important to “stick to our values”.
“I think we’ve had plenty of warning that this wasn’t going to be a World Cup where human rights and LGBT rights and women’s rights were well respected, really,” she said.
“But coming from a nation like Wales, we were very keen that we still took a stand.”
Tim Hartley, a Wales fan and head of fan charity Gol Cymru, told PA: “This whole tournament leaves a nasty taste in the mouth.
“When you think that Fifa and Qatar couldn’t get it any more wrong, they do something like this.”
Some fans have claimed they were told the rainbow-coloured items were being confiscated for their own safety.
A PA journalist witnessed a US fan being threatened for carrying a miniature rainbow flag on the Doha Metro by a man who appeared to be a Qatar supporter.
The man threatened to “kill” the fan and said “that flag is banned in this country”.
Wales and USA fans had to intervene to defuse the situation.
It comes after Wales and England made a last minute U-turn on wearing OneLove rainbow armbands after Fifa threatened team captains Gareth Bale and Harry Kane with sporting sanctions.
BBC pundit and former England player Alex Scott wore a OneLove armband during a live broadcast from England’s match against Iran.
There were also complaints before England and Wales’s matches about the ticketing system which caused chaos at the turnstiles.
Technical issues meant hundreds of fans missed the start of England v Iran at Khalifa International Stadium on Monday.
Wales fans were urged to head to their game at least three hours early to get around any issues getting into the stadium.
The Wales Fan Embassy called for the Fifa system’s glitches to be rectified ahead of the country’s match with Iran on Friday.
Wales fans are also said to have had a number of large banners and flags confiscated heading into the stadium on Monday, despite pre-registering them weeks in advance, as required by Fifa.
Some reported that the banners were missing at the end of the game, and have appealed on social media to find them.
Paul Corkrey, from the Wales FSA, said the tournament had been “a shambles” so far.
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