IIf you’re heading to Qatar and looking forward to strolling down to Al Bayt Stadium in a bikini with a plastic sword in hand, the OneLove bracelet on your arm, a rainbow hat on your head and a pint in hand, then you are will be disappointed.
The list of items banned at the World Cup continues to grow, most recently with reports that England fans have been told not to wear ‘crusader’ costumes, which are occasionally favored by middle-aged white men as at best misguided attire for international matches.
Here we take a look at the items banned in Qatar so far.
Two days before the start of the tournament, fans were banned from alcohol on the grounds in an unprecedented last-minute about-face. Alcohol sales were restricted to the Fifa Fan Festival, other fan destinations and licensed venues.
Fifa effectively banned the wearing of the armbands when it threatened to impose sanctions on players who did so. A number of players, including England captain Harry Kane, had intended to wear the armband as a gesture, in part to highlight Qatar’s appalling human rights record, including but not limited to its treatment of LGBT+ people and the plight of potentially thousands of migrant workers who set up the infrastructure for the tournament.
Rainbow bucket hats have reportedly been confiscated from staff at the Football Association of Wales and Welsh fans. Fifa and the Qataris are said to have held talks on the matter on Tuesday, during which Fifa reminded the hosts of their pre-tournament assurances that everyone is welcome and rainbow flags are allowed.
Reports included incidents where Football Association of Wales staff and fans were confronted with security for taking the hats into Ahmad bin Ali Stadium and a US fan with a rainbow flag walking on the Tube was confronted. But on Friday, Fifa said fans would be allowed to wear rainbow bucket hats and take rainbow flags into the stadium for the Wales-Iran game.
Fifa’s Stadium Code of Conduct states that fans are not to “remove any clothing or remain otherwise undressed” – including without a shirt. And they are not allowed to “disclose any intimate body parts”.
The Times reported that England fans have been instructed not to dress as St George, England’s patron saint, who is depicted as a “crusader knight” wearing mock chain mail and often carrying a plastic sword.
The Crusades were a series of bloody religious wars in which Christian invaders, led by the Latin Church, attempted to liberate Jerusalem and its environs from Islamic rule. Estimates of the death toll vary widely, from 1.5 million to as many as 6 million. Fifa said: “Crusader costumes in the Arab context can be offensive to Muslims. That’s why anti-discrimination colleagues asked the fans to wear their clothes inside out or to change their clothes.”