Although FIFA promised to keep LGBTQ community promotions at a minimum, the fans are turning up in huge numbers with rainbow flags. Thus, FIFA has failed miserably in banning the universal symbolism of LGBTQ at FIFA 2022, in Qatar.
It has been widely reported that several fans wearing rainbow-colored clothing have been stopped from entering the stadium in recent times. News is in circulation, pointing towards the hostility of individuals amongst themselves, as traditional norms seem to be flouted.
The Aftermath of The Rainbow Ban
The US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has openly criticized FIFA’s decision to take a stance in this manner. Most players have also been warned against showing any support for the queer community. In the very beginning, the organizers had reportedly said that they would support the rainbow flag bearers, so it seems like treachery on their part. In Qatar, it goes without saying that homosexuality is an offense.
In a recent conference and discussion involving Blinken and Qatar’s foreign minister, the former expressed concern over the disrespect of an individual’s personal rights. Freedom of expression is the true essence of diversity, and Antony Blinken supports it in totality. However, the stance that the top football body has taken in the season is disheartening to a huge section of the community. Qatar is hosting the world cup after its bid, almost 12 years ago.
It is an attempt to showcase the rich diversity of the region to the western world. The foreign minister has gone on record, saying that Qatar wants to highlight more business opportunities in sectors like tourism. In line with the commitments, Qatari officials were supposed to protect the rights of all the nationalities who came in as a part of the event, apart from different sexualities and religions. However, the scrutiny that followed since the onset of the event is against the commitments made.
More Bans and Scrutiny Follows
In a recent turn of events, beer sales at the stadium were also stopped by the authorities. This has only fuelled the concerns that the authorities will act stricter than usual when it came to respecting the rights of sexuality. No one from the government was available to comment on such allegations till late. In the meanwhile, the issue of the rainbow flags has assumed massive proportions in the Qatari region.
In the past few years, when the discussion related to the event was on, the authorities had repeatedly promised to act leniently in such matters. According to FIFA World Cup, tolerance and inclusion are the rules that form the foundation of the organization. However, the authorities have been giving conflicting statements about how they would be responding to LGBTQ rights outside the venue.
An associate professor, who happens to teach at Doha Institute for Graduate Studies, was involved in a tussle inside the metro with another individual who disregarded LGBTQ community rights. In fact, he was called out for carrying the rainbow flag, which was not much larger than his hand. Arabic fans harassed the professor along with other volunteers who were serving at the event.
One of them also manhandled the professor. After all the melee, the professor, hid the flag in his suit to avoid further controversies at the stadium. In another instance, Laura McAllister, an ex-Wales national football captain, was also stopped at the stadium as she was sporting a rainbow-colored hat. She was told that she had to take it off, as it was a banned symbol.
A sports journalist has also gone on record, saying how he was stopped for wearing a rainbow-colored t-shirt. His phone was also taken away for some time. It goes without saying, that such behavior is not alien to the community. Enforcement in the region also varies from place to place.