The Football Association of Wales has been reassured by Fifa that supporters with rainbow-coloured clothing and flags will be allowed to enter Friday’s match against Iran and that the policy will be applied across all World Cup venues.
The FAW held urgent talks with the tournament organisers after Wales staff and fans had multicoloured bucket hats, shoelaces and wristbands confiscated before their Group B opener against the USA. Wales were among the nations to U-turn on wearing the rainbow-coloured OneLove armband in support of LGBTQ+ rights after Fifa threatened sporting sanctions.
Fifa and the Qatari authorities have been in dialogue after the FAW sought urgent clarity over the circumstances that led to supporters being ordered to remove rainbow-coloured clothing if they were to enter the Ahmad bin Ali Stadium.
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The FAW’s chief executive, Noel Mooney, described Fifa’s action over the armband as “cheap” and “pretty low”, adding: “We were told this was going to be a really inclusive, welcoming, warm World Cup. That is not what I have seen, I have to say. To have our fans having their bucket hats taken off them is just appalling. Their voice was taken away, the players’ voices were taken away by the armband. For that we are deeply disappointed.”
Before receiving assurances from Fifa on Thursday, Wales made a point of reiterating their inclusive message to fans by displaying rainbow-coloured flags at their Al Sadd Sports Club training base. A large rainbow flag is draped from a pitch-side tent and corner flags decorated with the Welsh dragon were changed in support of the LGBTQ+ community.
An FAW statement said: “In response to the FAW, Fifa has confirmed that fans with Rainbow Wall bucket hats and rainbow flags will be allowed entry to the stadium for Cymru’s match against Iran on Friday. All World Cup venues have been contacted and instructed to follow the agreed rules and regulations. The FAW urges Fifa to adhere to their message that everybody will be welcome in Qatar during the World Cup and continue to highlight any further human rights issues.”