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US football reporter refused entry to World Cup stadium in Qatar over rainbow shirt

US football reporter refused entry to World Cup stadium in Qatar over rainbow shirt

Grant Wahl was told by security that his pride shirt was 'too political'.

US football reporter Grant Wahl says he was denied entry to a World Cup stadium in Qatar for wearing a rainbow shirt.

In a blog penned by the American sports journalist and soccer analyst for CBS Sports, Wahl recalled how he was blocked from getting into the Ahmed bin Ali Stadium in Al Rayyan during the USA vs Wales match.

Wahl says it was due to him wearing a shirt bearing the Pride flag in support of LGBTQI+ rights in Qatar, a nation where same-sex couples could face several years of imprisonment.

The reporter said a guard ‘angrily’ ordered him to remove the shirt, however, Wahl refused.

Following the hostile interaction, Wahl tweeted: “Just now: Security guard refusing to let me into the stadium for USA-Wales. ‘You have to change your shirt. It’s not allowed.’”

Shortly after, Wahl sent a follow-up tweet to notify his followers he had been detained for almost an hour but was ultimately granted access inside the stadium.

He wrote: “I’m OK, but that was an unnecessary ordeal. Am in the media center, still wearing my shirt. Was detained for nearly half an hour. Go gays.”

Wahl claims that after he posted his first tweet, a guard ‘ripped’ his phone from his hands while another guard told him his shirt was ‘too political'.

He also saw his friend Andrew Das, a reporter for the New York Times, at the stadium, who revealed to Wahl that he, too, had been detained.

Das was eventually let go, and a security commander apologised to Wahl for the ordeal.

He added: "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."

He also shared in his blog that a FIFA official reached out to apologise.

Avpics / Alamy Stock Photo

The Gulf country has been widely condemned for its discriminatory policy around queer people.

While Qatar has said that LGBTQI+ fans are welcome during the tournament, they maintain that visitors should respect the nation’s culture, in which public displays of affection are frowned upon.

Ambassador for the World Cup, Khalid Salman, also told German public broadcaster ZDF, as per AP News: “During the World Cup, many things will come here to the country. Let’s talk about gays.

“The most important thing is, everybody will accept that they come here. But they will have to accept our rules.”

He added that homosexuality was a ‘damage in the mind’

Salman also said that being gay is ‘haram,’ meaning forbidden in Arabic, and he has a problem with children seeing gay people.

LADbible has reached out to FIFA for comment.

Featured Image Credit: Grant.Wahl/Twitter. MB Media Solutions / Alamy Stock Photo

Topics: News, World Cup, Football, World News, LGBTQ