Soccer reporter Grant Wahl said he was denied entry into the U.S. men’s national team’s World Cup opener against Wales in Qatar on Monday because of his shirt.
Wahl, who works for CBS Sports and writes for GrantWahl.com, said security told him he needed to change his shirt, which featured a rainbow surrounding a soccer ball.
Wahl later posted that he made it into the media area at Ahmad bin Ali Stadium in Al Rayyan after being “detained” for nearly 30 minutes.
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Wahl’s incident comes on the same day that seven European countries abandoned a plan to wear rainbow “OneLove” armbands at the World Cup. FIFA threatened those teams with yellow cards to captains who wore the armbands, which are not permitted by the organization. It was a decision that left many, including Wahl, frustrated.
Gay rights have been a major point of contention in the run-up to Qatar’s World Cup. Former Qatari national team player Khalid Salman, a World Cup ambassador for the country, called homosexuality “damage in the mind” in an interview with German public broadcaster ZDF earlier this month.
In Qatar, a prison sentence of one to three years can be handed to those who “instigate” or “seduce” a male to “commit sodomy” or for “inducing or seducing a male or a female in any way to commit illegal or immoral actions.”