Soccer Qataris wear pro-Palestinian armbands amid World Cup symbol row

DOHA, Nov 24 (Reuters) – Several Qataris wore armbands with pro-Palestinian designs at the Japan-Germany World Cup match on Wednesday, according to photos posted on Twitter, amid a row over political symbols allowed at the main soccer club. an event.

The strips carried the black and white design of the keffiyeh scarf, which is synonymous with the Palestinian cause and was an apparent response to players and officials protesting FIFA’s move to sanction players who wear the OneLove armband on the pitch.

Reuters confirmed the photos on Twitter with eyewitnesses at the stadium.

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Nearby, German Interior Minister Nancy Feser wore the OneLove ribbon, which features a colorful heart that promotes inclusion and opposes discrimination.

Last week, seven European teams abandoned plans to wear the strip on the pitch after FIFA threatened them with sanctions.

Before kick-off on Wednesday, Germany players put their hands over their mouths during a team photo to protest the move by world football.

Japan beat Germany 2-1.

Qatari officials are increasingly troubled by what they see as unfair criticism of the decision to award the World Cup hosting rights to Qatar, particularly by German officials, including Feser.

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The World Cup, the first to be held in a Middle Eastern country, has focused the spotlight on LGBT+ rights in Qatar, where homosexuality remains illegal but some queer residents say they have more freedoms than their peers from across the region.

Several highly publicized incidents of security officials preventing ticket holders with pro-LGBT+ rainbow designs from entering World Cup stadiums have added fuel to the debate over which political symbols are allowed at the games.

The tournament has also fueled pro-Palestinian sentiment among some locals, particularly in response to the Qatari government’s decision to allow direct flights from Tel Aviv to the World Cup, as well as a delegation of Israeli diplomats to handle logistics.

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Some 10,000 to 20,000 Israeli fans are expected to visit Qatar during the month-long tournament.

Israelis are usually prevented from visiting Qatar, which does not officially recognize Israel, making Palestinian statehood a condition for recognition.

Reporting by Andrew Mills; Editing by Paul Simao

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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