World Cup: Rainbow clothing will not be confiscated in future games, says FIFA
FIFA has told all competing countries at the 2022 World Cup that rainbow clothing in support of the LGBTQ+ community will not be confiscated at their stadium entrances.
It comes after several fans attending Wales' opening game against the USA were reportedly told they could not wear rainbow bucket hats. That included former Wales international Laura McAllister who told ITV News she was stopped by security guards who claimed her hat was “a banned symbol”.
Speaking to ITV she said: "I pointed out that FIFA had made lots of comments about supporting LGBT rights in this tournament, and said to them that coming from a nation where we’re very passionate about equality for all people, I wasn’t going to take my hat off," she said.
"They were insistent that unless I took the hat off we weren’t actually allowed to come into the stadium.”
She said she had a “small moral victory” by managing to sneak the hat through in her handbag.
ITV News' Steve Scott confirmed on Thursday afternoon hosts have told FIFA that rainbow clothing in support of the LGBTQ community will not be confiscated at stadium entrances.
He said, "FIFA has passed these assurances on to all competing FAs."
Qatar, where homosexuality is illegal, has faced heavy criticism since being awarded the World Cup for its stance on LGBTQ+ rights.
Given assurances made by football governing body FIFA in the build-up to the tournament around LGBTQ+ and human rights, there are fears from some they may not be sticking to their word.
The FAW has confirmed on its Twitter page that fans attending the Iran match on Friday will be allowed into the ground wearing rainbow clothing.
Bucket hats have become synonymous with Welsh football and the "Red Wall" of supporters as they've climbed to football's pinnacle, the World Cup.
It is the second incident which has raised eyebrows about treatment of the community during the tournament itself.
With just hours to go before kick-off on Monday, captain Gareth Bale was prevented from wearing a "One Love" armband after FIFA threatened to give him a yellow card.
Several nations had pledged their captains would wear the armbands, showing support for LGBTQ+ rights, including Group B rivals England. Harry Kane also decided against wearing the armband less than twelve hours before their first game, a 6-2 win against Iran.
Bale told a press conference on Thursday the team were "not to happy" he was unable to wear the armband. I know people said I should've worn it but I would've been sent off after 25 minutes so of course we support it, but we're here to play football at the same time.
"We're all for equality and we're always trying to do that right thing."
Germany, whose captain was also due to make the same stand, protested by covering their mouths during their pre-kick off team photo on Wednesday, and have since threatened to take legal action against FIFA.
Wales have staged their own protests, hanging rainbow flags around their Al Sadd training ground.
That included hanging a flag from the pitchside tent and swapping their usual corner flags for ones sporting rainbow colours.
Wales are currently joint-second in Group B following a dramatic draw against USA on Monday night.
They go into a must-win match against Iran on Friday morning searching for their first win of the tournament, and have been boosted by the prospect of midfielder Joe Allen's return from a hamstring injury which kept him sidelined earlier in the week.