Female Wales supporters wearing rainbow bucket hats had them confiscated in Qatar ahead of the World Cup clash with the USA, according to fans.
Wales’s Rainbow Wall, a group of LGBTQ+ supporters, said male supporters wearing the hats were allowed to keep them but the items were taken from women.
Former Wales international footballer Laura McAllister, now a professor at Cardiff University, 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 to stand up for our values.”
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’s 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.”
PA news agency understands a US supporter was threatened on the metro traveling to the stadium for carrying a small rainbow flag.
A man, who appeared to be a Qatar supporter, threatened to “kill” the fan, saying 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, along with England and other European nations, earlier confirmed that they would not be wearing the anti-discrimination OneLove 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 had 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 two men were holding a sign that read “Llywelyn, Glyndwr, Ramsay”, the third name referring to midfielder 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 later 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.”