The World Cup in Qatar is well underway, but concerns about LGBTQ+ rights for the Gulf nation, FIFA, teams, and fans simply won’t go away.
Two German soccer fans told Reporters on Sunday evening that security guards at Qatar 2022 told them to take off the rainbow-colored clothes they were wearing as they went to watch the World Cup game between France and Denmark.
How the controversy over the ‘OneLove’ armbands turned into a World Cup sideshow was described as ‘scary our livelihoods are so controversial.’
At the Msheireb Metro Station in Doha, Reporters saw the incident come to a head when Bengt Kunkel, who was sporting a rainbow-colored sweatband, and his friend, who was wearing a coordinating armband, refused to comply and hand over the items.
LGBTQ+ pride is symbolized by the rainbow.
According to Kunkel, a group of security guards eventually released the Germans after separating them and demanding that they place the rainbow-colored objects in their pockets.
‘Out of the blue.
As soon as the incident occurred, Kunkel told Reporters that ‘they took my friend quite aggressively on the arm, pushed him away from the crowd, and told him to take it off.’
They later took me along with him.
They threatened to call the police unless you removed it and disposed of it in the trash.
The two allegedly told security they could call the police and continued to refuse to dispose of their belongings in the trash.
Kunkel, who traveled to the World Cup to take in the soccer competition but also to use his social media platform to talk about LGBTQ+ issues and Qatar 2022.
‘We had a little discussion, we were being respectful and said: ‘We’re not going to throw it away but we’re going to put it in our pockets.’
According to FIFA, England fans’ Crusader costumes are offensive.
Then CNN was allowed to follow Kunkel and his friend to the game as they made their way down to the station platform.
Kunkel’s friend claimed he was unwilling to speak with CNN.
Kunkel put the rainbow-colored armband and wristband back on when she exited Stadium 974 and proceeded through security.
CNN saw Kunkel pass through, though the 23-year-old German was once more escorted to the side.
After being stopped four more times, Kunkel told Reporters he was finally allowed to enter the stadium while still sporting the rainbow-colored attire.
Both former Wales captain Laura McAllister and American journalist Grant Wahl claimed earlier this week that security personnel had instructed them to take off any clothing with rainbow-colored patterns.
A FIFA representative and a senior member of the stadium security staff apologized to Wahl, who claimed he was released 25 minutes after being detained.
FIFA pointed reporters to the tournament handbook when the organization was questioned about the appropriate attire for spectators. The handbook states that ‘ex-pats and tourists are free to wear the clothing of their choice, as long as it is modest and respectful to the culture.’
LGBTQ Supporters at the 2022 World Cup
The Welsh Football Association (FAW) reported that FIFA informed the federation on Thursday that rainbow-colored flags and hats would be permitted at World Cup stadiums in Qatar after some Wales supporters were also denied entry into stadiums for donning rainbow-colored bucket hats on Monday.
In response to the FAW, FIFA tweeted that supporters wearing rainbow flags and bucket hats would be permitted entry to the stadium for @Cymru’s match against Iran on Friday.
All World Cup locations have been contacted and told to abide by the established rules and guidelines
Kunkel’s Saturday incident, however, would seem to indicate that there is still a discrepancy between FIFA’s rules and regulations and what is taking place at Qatar 2022.
Reporters contacted the organizing committee in Qatar and FIFA.
FIFA directed reporters to the organizing committee in Qatar, but as of the time of publication, they had not responded.
The 23-year-old Kunkel, a student sports journalist back in Germany, has been in Qatar since just before the World Cup began and claims he has already had items confiscated that are rainbow-colored. He is there with three friends.
During Monday’s match between Senegal and the Netherlands at the Al Thumana Stadium, Kunkel claimed he was ordered to leave his seat and remove the objects.
When security did so, they were placed in a trash can, and Kunkel was then free to return to his seat.
Kunkel continued, ‘Tossing a rainbow flag in the trash is quite a statement.
Although I don’t identify as a member of the LGBTQ community, I can understand those who do not want to visit Qatar because the country’s residents are subjected to discrimination.’
German media have covered Kunkel’s visit to Qatar, and this week he met with Nancy Faeser, the interior and community minister of Germany, in Doha.
During her nation’s 2-1 loss to Japan, Faeser wore the ‘OneLove’ armband with FIFA President Gianni Infantino sitting close by. The armband depicts the outline of a heart with stripes of various colors.
FIFA and seven European nations participating in the Qatar 2022 World Cup have been at odds since the tournament began over the threat of sanctions for any player donning a ‘OneLove’ armband during matches.
Kunkel claims he is dissatisfied with FIFA for allowing Qatar to host the World Cup in a nation where having sex with another man is against the law and is subject to a three-year prison sentence.
The 23-year-old claims that Faeser and the German Football Association (DFB) have backed his actions and that the DFB even gave him additional rainbow merchandise after his original possessions were seized.
Germany’s team protested FIFA’s decision to forbid the ‘OneLove’ armband that many European captains had hoped to wear in Qatar before its match against Japan earlier this week by posing with their right hands in front of their mouths.
‘Our dreams never materialized,’
These men are now fighting for survival after helping to build Qatar’s World Cup.
Kunkel affirms that protest but says more can be done.
Kunkel, who is leaving for Germany on Monday, said, ‘The German FA talks a lot about the rights of the LGBTQ community but whenever they fear consequences they seem to back off and I think that’s a little bit sad.’
Although he’s received a mixed response online, Kunkel says he was repeatedly congratulated by other fans as he arrived at Saturday’s game. Kunkel is passionate about using his platform in Qatar to raise awareness.
Kunkel, who earlier this week from Qatar posted a photo of himself on Instagram holding a rainbow-colored sweatband in front of his face that he had painted with the German flag and a message reading: ‘Take a stand, be seen, participate in change,’ said, ‘I want to be a voice.
In contrast, Qatar’s organizing committee has pledged to host ‘an inclusive and discrimination-free’ World Cup in response to criticism from the West over its anti-LGBTQ laws, which Infantino called ‘hypocritical’ prior to the tournament when discussing Qatar’s human rights record more generally.
Kunkel told reporters, ‘It’s so annoying that they do this.
‘These are fundamental human rights; this is not a political issue.’