An American journalist claims he was arrested Monday after trying to enter a World Cup stadium in Qatar — where same-sex relationships are banned — wearing a rainbow T-shirt in support of the LGBT community.
Grant Wahl, a former writer for Sports Illustrated magazine who now runs his own website, said World Cup security barred him from attending the United States’ match against Wales at the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium in Al Rayyan and asked him to take off his shirt.
He said his phone was taken away when he tweeted about the incident.
“I’m fine, but it was an unnecessary ordeal,” Wahl wrote on Twitter.
The journalist later claimed that the security commander later approached him, apologized and let him into the stadium.
Wahl also claimed he later received an apology from representatives of FIFA, soccer’s international governing body.
Seven European World Cup nations earlier on Monday scrapped plans for their captains to wear OneLove strips – introduced to support diversity and inclusion – after FIFA threatened to issue yellow cards to any player wearing the colorful strip.
Qatar has come under intense scrutiny from many Western countries for its treatment of the LGBT community and migrant workers, although FIFA chief Gianni Infantino dismissed such criticism as ‘hypocritical’, saying that “Europeans should apologize for the next 3,000 years before they start giving moral lesson to people.”