‘It’s not allowed’: US journalist ‘detained’ entering World Cup match for wearing rainbow t-shirt

An American journalist has reported that security guards initially denied him entry into a World Cup 2022 fixture in Qatar, telling him a t-shirt bearing rainbow colours was “not allowed”.

Grant Wahl, who works with CBS, was heading into the Ahmad bin Ali Stadium in Al Rayyan to cover the USA vs Wales game, with both nations beginning their Group B campaign on Monday evening.

However, he was prevented from doing so due to his attire, which he showed in a photo on his Twitter account - a football surrounded by striped rainbow colours.

“Security guard refusing to let me into the stadium for USA-Wales,” he tweeted. “’You have to change your shirt. It’s not allowed,’” he reported the guard as telling him.

This comes just hours after England were prevented from wearing their rainbow One Love armband by Fifa, with Harry Kane - as well as Wales, Netherlands and other European nations later on - being set to wear it on the pitch this week.

Wahl has previously tweeted rules handed out by Fifa on how stadium security should be dealing with specific topics, including flags or shirts with rainbows.

Those Fifa guidelines included the notes that “general statements in favour of positive values enshrined in the Fifa Statutes, such as human rights and anti-discrimination are permitted.”

A graphic includes “flags, shirts [or] shoelaces” which display the global colour schemes for pride and transgender support being permitted, among others, as well as more specific ones showing support for Iranian women or Black Lives Matter.

Another Qatar World Cup branded graphic states “persons displaying the LGBTQI+ rights rainbow or other sexual identity flags will neither be approached, detained or prosecuted.”

Fifa and the host nation have continually pushed the message that this will be an inclusive World Cup finals, but constant late rule changes have repeatedly denied teams any chance to show, promote or support that approach.

Just over an hour after the initial post, Wahl followed up with a second tweet noting that he had ultimately gained entry without needing to change.

“I’m OK, but that was an unnecessary ordeal,” he said. “Am in the media center, still wearing my shirt. Was detained for nearly half an hour. Go gays.”