Wales supporters wearing rainbow bucket hats say they had them confiscated ahead of their side’s match against the USA.
LGBTQ+ supporters group Wales’ Rainbow Wall said that while male fans wearing the hats were allowed to keep them, female fans had the items taken from them by officials at the stadium in Qatar before their opening World Cup fixture last night.
It comes amid a raft of similar reports from supporters of different nations at the tournament who have had clothing or flags bearing the rainbow design taken off them by officials.
Qatar – where homosexuality is punishable with up to three years in prison and which has an appalling human rights record – has faced mounting condemnation over its approach.
Former Wales international footballer Laura McAllister, now a professor at Cardiff University, wrote on Twitter: “So, despite fine words from @FIFAWorldCup before event, @Cymru rainbow bucket hats confiscated at stadium, mine included.
“I had a conversation about this with stewards – we have video evidence. This #WorldCup2022 just gets better but we will continue stand up for our values.”
Bucket hats have become hugely popular among Wales fans over the past decade, with huge numbers in the crowd choosing to wear them to attend the country’s first World Cup match since 1958.
The yellow, green and red garments are worn in their thousands by the so-called “Red Wall”, with a rainbow version also produced.
Wales’ Rainbow Wall wrote: “Our rainbow bucket hat. We are so proud of them, but news on the ground tonight is our Welsh female supporters wearing them in #Qatar are having them taken off them, not the men, just women.
“@Fifacom are you serious !! #LGBTQRights.”
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A US supporter is also understood to have been threatened on the Metro travelling to the stadium for carrying a small rainbow flag.
A man who appeared to be a Qatar supporter threatened to “kill” the man, saying the flag “was not allowed” and “that flag is banned in this country”.
“We have our own culture,” he added.