The World Cup is well underway in Qatar. But the problem with LGBTQ+ rights for the Gulf State FIFA World Cup governing body, teams and fans will not disappear.
on saturday Two German football fans told CNN that Qatar 2022 security staff asked them to take off the rainbow clothes they were wearing as they traveled to watch the World Cup match between France and Denmark on Saturday.
CNN saw a recap of the incident at the Msheireb metro station in Doha as Bengt Kunkel, who wore a rainbow sweater, and his friend with the same armband. refuse to deliver such items The rainbow is a symbol of LGBTQ+ pride.
After taking the Germans to one side Eventually, a group of security guards let them go. Provided that they put rainbow-colored items in the bag, according to Kunkel.
“Nowhere They violently grabbed my friend’s arm and pushed him away from the crowd and told him to take it. [the armband] Get out,” Kunkel told CNN as he detailed the events shortly after.
“Then they took me with him. They said: ‘You’re going to take it off and throw it in the trash or we’ll call the police.’”
The couple refused to throw their things in the trash and said they had informed security that they could call the police.
“We had a little talk. We respected and said: ‘We won’t leave it. But we’ll keep it in our pockets,’” adds Kunkel. football match but also uses his social media platforms to discuss LGBTQ+ issues and Qatar 2022.
Kunkel and his friend were then allowed to walk down to the platform of the station, where CNN took them to watch the game. Kunkel’s friend said he didn’t want to talk to CNN.
Once outside the stadium, 974 Kunkel refitted his armband and rainbow wristband and walked through security.
CNN saw that Kunkel was allowed to pass. Although the 23-year-old German was once again taken to one side.
Kunkel then told CNN that he was stopped four more times before being allowed to sit in the arena wearing the rainbow stuff.
Earlier this week, American journalists Grant Wahl and Laura McAllister Former Wales captain They said they were instructed by security guards to remove their rainbow-patterned clothes.
Wahl said he was released 25 minutes after being detained and received an apology from FIFA representatives and senior members of the stadium security team.
When asked to clarify the dress code for fans FIFA quoted CNN’s match guide as saying: “Foreigners and tourists alike are free to wear the clothing of their choice. As long as it’s polite and culturally respectful.”
After some Welsh fans were denied entry to the stadium for wearing rainbow bucket hats on Monday. The Football Association of Wales (FAW) said FIFA informed the federation on Thursday it was allowed to use the rainbow flag and cap at the World Cup stadium in Qatar.
“In response to the FAW, FIFA has confirmed that fans wearing Rainbow Wall bucket hats and rainbow flags will be allowed into the stadium for @Cymru’s match against Iran on Friday,” it tweeted.
“All World Cup venues have been contacted and ordered to comply with the agreed rules and regulations.”
However, Kunkel’s experience on Saturday seems to indicate that there is still a connection between FIFA’s rules and regulations and what is happening on the pitch at Qatar 2022.
CNN Contacts FIFA and Qatar Organizing Committee FIFA forwards CNN to Qatar Organizing Committee. which did not reply at the time of publishing.
Kunkel, 23, a student sports reporter in Germany, had been in Qatar with three friends since before the World Cup began and said he had been confiscated of his rainbow-colored items.
Kunkel said he was stripped from his seat at Al Thumana Stadium during Senegal’s game against the Netherlands on Monday and was told to remove his belongings.
On that occasion, a security guard threw them in the trash and Kunkel was allowed to return to his seat.
“Tossing the rainbow flag in the trash is quite polite,” adds Kunkel.
“I’m not part of the LGBTQ community myself, but I understand people who don’t want to come here. [Qatar] because people in the community are oppressed.”
Kunkel’s trip to Qatar made headlines in Germany. And he met with German Interior and Communities Minister Nancy Faeser in Doha this week.
Faeser wore a “OneLove” armband outlined with hearts in different colors, with FIFA president Gianni Infantino sitting nearby during her country’s 2-1 defeat to Japan.
since the World Cup began FIFA finds itself on fire with the seven European nations playing in Qatar 2022 over threatening to boycott players wearing the “One Love” armband during the game.
Kunkel said he was unhappy with FIFA allowing Qatar to host the World Cup in a country where sex between men is illegal and carries a maximum three-year prison sentence.
The 23-year-old said both Faeser and the German Football Association (DFB) backed his actions and the DFB even provided him with rainbow-colored items after he was seized.
Ahead of the game against Japan earlier this week. Germany’s team gagged their right hand, designed to protest FIFA’s decision to ban the “OneLove” armband that many European captains hope to wear in Qatar.
Although Kunkel backed such protests, Kunkel said more could be done.
“The German Football Association talks a lot about the rights of the LGBTQ community, but whenever they fear the consequences. They seemed to retreat. And I think that is a little sad,” said Kunkel, who returned to Germany on Monday.
Kunkel said he is keen on using his platform in Qatar to raise awareness. He added that although he received mixed responses online, But he also received several congratulations from the fans who walked into Saturday’s game.
“I want to be a voice,” says Kunkel, who earlier this week posted a photo on Instagram of himself from Qatar showing a rainbow sweatband on his front. In which he painted the German flag with the message: “Stand up, be seen, participate in change. A wonderful feeling.”
The Qatar organizing committee had previously promised to host the World Cup in He called it “inclusive and free of discrimination” amid Western criticism of anti-LGBTQ laws – criticizing Infantino, who spoke of Qatar’s human rights record in general, condemning it as “hypocrisy” before the contest.
“It’s really annoying that they’re doing this,” Kunkel told CNN. “This is not a political issue. it is a fundamental human right.”