Former Wales captain Laura McAllister forced to remove rainbow hat ahead of USA match

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Welsh fans attending the national team’s first World Cup match on Monday faced scrutiny from security teams over their rainbow clothing. Some fans were forced to remove items, including rainbow bucket hats, to avoid being rejected at the stadium’s entrance. The news comes as the host nation Qatar has come under scrutiny for its treatment of LGBTQ+ symbols. Among the disgruntled Welsh fans was former ladies captain Laura McAllister, whose experience with Qatar security was captured on video.

In the video clip, Ms McAllister, who is one of the Welsh Football Association’s Ambassadors at the tournament, is shown being held at a security checkpoint.

After passing through a metal detector, she is stopped by a member of the security team who gestures towards her rainbow-coloured hat.

Ms McAllister told ITV news: “They were insistent that unless I took the hat off we weren’t actually allowed to come into the stadium.”

Despite the security team’s intervention, she claimed she had achieved a “small moral victory” after she managed to sneak the hat through in her handbag.

The former international footballer later tweeted: “So, despite fine words from Fifa before the event, Wales rainbow Bucket hats [were] confiscated at the stadium, mine included. 

“I had a conversation about this with stewards – we have video evidence. 

“This World Cup just gets better but we will continue to stand up for our values.”

Ms McAllister claimed security personnel at the Wales-USA match had informed her the hat was considered a “banned symbol”.

Read more: Wales star Williams’ heartbreak after grandad dies before World Cup

The experience of the former Wales ladies captain comes after England, Wales and other European nations turned on plans to wear the OneLove armband during their matches.

A joint statement from seven football associations asserted players would not be placed in a position “where they could face sporting sanctions” for wearing the armband on the pitch.

The rainbow OneLove athletic armband is used to promote diversity and inclusion. 

The statement indicated teams had been prepared to pay fines that would usually be applied to breaches of kit regulations, but would not put players in a situation where “they might be booked.”

The statement added: “Our players and coaches are disappointed – they are strong supporters of inclusion and will show support in other ways.”

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