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Ex-Wales Laura McAllister is among female football fans ‘told to take off their rainbow bucket hats’

Former Wales captain Laura McAllister was among female football fans who were ‘told to take off their rainbow bucket hats’ at the Qatari stadium ahead of the Dragons’ first match.

Wales’ Rainbow Wall, a group of LGBTQ+ supporters, said male supporters wearing the hats were allowed to keep them but the accessories were taken from women.

McAllister, now a professor at Cardiff University, told ITV News that security guards said her hat was ‘a banned symbol’, however she managed to sneak it through in her handbag. 

She said: ‘I pointed out that FIFA had made lots of comments about supporting LGBT rights in this tournament, and said to them that coming from a nation where we’re very passionate about equality for all people, I wasn’t going to take my hat off.’

‘They were insistent that unless I took the hat off we weren’t actually allowed to come into the stadium.’

McAllister added: ‘I think we’ve had plenty of warning that this wasn’t going to be a tournament where human rights, LGBT rights and women’s rights were going to be well respected, but coming from a nation like Wales, we were very keen that we still took a stand coming here.’

She also wrote on Twitter: ‘So, despite fine words from @FIFAWorldCup before event, @Cymru rainbow bucket hats confiscated at stadium, mine included.

‘I had a conversation about this with stewards – we have video evidence. This WorldCup2022 just gets better but we will continue stand up for our values.’

It comes as England captain Harry Kane revealed he had no say in the decision to scrap plans to wear a ‘One Love’ armband in their game against Iran. 

Former Wales captain Laura McAllister was among female football fans who were ‘told to take off their rainbow bucket hats’ at the Qatari stadium ahead of the Dragons’ first match

McAllister, now a professor at Cardiff University, told ITV News that security guards said her hat was 'a banned symbol', however she managed to sneak it through in her handbag

McAllister, now a professor at Cardiff University, told ITV News that security guards said her hat was ‘a banned symbol’, however she managed to sneak it through in her handbag

She said: 'I pointed out that FIFA had made lots of comments about supporting LGBT rights in this tournament, and said to them that coming from a nation where we're very passionate about equality for all people, I wasn't going to take my hat off'

She said: ‘I pointed out that FIFA had made lots of comments about supporting LGBT rights in this tournament, and said to them that coming from a nation where we’re very passionate about equality for all people, I wasn’t going to take my hat off’

She also wrote on Twitter : 'So, despite fine words from @FIFAWorldCup before event, @Cymru rainbow bucket hats confiscated at stadium, mine included'

She also wrote on Twitter : ‘So, despite fine words from @FIFAWorldCup before event, @Cymru rainbow bucket hats confiscated at stadium, mine included’

The bucket hat has become the must-have accessory for Wales fans over the past decade.

The yellow, green and red hats are worn in their thousands by the so-called ‘Red Wall’, with a rainbow version also produced.

Wales’ Rainbow Wall wrote: ‘Our rainbow bucket hat. We are so proud of them, but news on the ground tonight is our welsh female supporters wearing them in Qatar are having them taken off them, not the men, just women.

‘@Fifacom are you serious !! #LGBTQRights.’

A US supporter was also threatened on the Metro travelling to the stadium for carrying a small rainbow flag.

The aggressor, who appeared to be a Qatar supporter, threatened to ‘kill’ the man, and said the flag ‘was not allowed’ and ‘that flag is banned in this country’.

‘We have our own culture’, he added.

Wales and US fans, as well as Qatari security guards, intervened to protect the fan carrying the flag, which is a symbol of LGBTQ+ rights and pride.

Wales' Rainbow Wall, a group of LGBTQ+ supporters, said male supporters wearing the hats were allowed to keep them but the accessories were taken from women

Wales’ Rainbow Wall, a group of LGBTQ+ supporters, said male supporters wearing the hats were allowed to keep them but the accessories were taken from women

Wales, along with England and other European nations, earlier confirmed they would not be wearing the anti-discrimination One Love rainbow armbands after governing body Fifa threatened sporting sanctions.

Dyfrig Hills, a 32-year-old teacher from North Wales, said he was ‘disappointed’ that Fifa had effectively banned the armbands.

Speaking outside a hotel in Doha where around 1,900 Wales fans gathered before the US game, he said: ‘I’m really disappointed to be honest, I’m disappointed for the countries wanting to wear them and I’m disappointed in Fifa for doing what they’ve done.

‘Also slightly at the associations because I thought they’d still stand up for what we believe in.’

His friend Gareth Dixon, 32, who is a teacher in Qatar, said: ‘I’ve lived here for five years and the change in that time is immeasurable, particularly in terms of the infrastructure.

‘It’s a developing country at the end of the day but I’ve seen the news at home and if I still lived in the UK I’d be angry at what’s happening and saying the same things.’

The bucket hat has become the must-have accessory for Wales fans over the past decade (pictured in the stands for the match against the US)

The bucket hat has become the must-have accessory for Wales fans over the past decade (pictured in the stands for the match against the US)

The two men were holding a sign that read ‘Llywelyn, Glyndwr, Ramsay’, the third name referring to Aaron Ramsay who they claimed was ‘the true Prince of Wales’.

‘Bale gets a lot of the adoration, we think Ramsay deserves some, especially with his blonde hair,’ Mr Hills said.

Mark Drakeford, First Minister of Wales, said Welsh players would continue to speak out about the rights of LGBTQ+ people.

He said: ‘Welsh players have spoken out, they have spoken out in interviews. The Football Association (of Wales) itself has been absolutely rock solid in saying that they are here to speak up for the values that matter to people in Wales, to human rights, the rights of LGBTQ+ people as well.

‘The fact that they have done that so solidly, I don’t think there’s any reason to imagine that they won’t want to go on doing that.’

The Prince of Wales posted a photo of the bucket hat he was given by Elin Jones, the presiding officer of the Welsh parliament.

William wrote: ‘After reaching the £FIFAWorldCup for the first time since 1958, it’s only right to watch the first @Cymru game in style. Thanks for the bucket hat @ElinCeredigion! W’.

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