England fan 'STRIP SEARCHED in England top featuring rainbow colours'
England fan ‘was STRIP SEARCHED after turning up to World Cup match in official England top with rainbow colours on it – and then accused of disrespecting local customs’
- Anthony Johnson, from London, was attempting to access the Al Bayt Stadium
- He was was wearing a t-shirt with England’s official badge in rainbow colours
- Johnson said he was made to remove all of his clothes, including his underwear
A member of England’s official travel club has said he was strip searched by security staff and then detained further as he tried to get into a World Cup match.
Anthony Johnson, from London, was wearing a t-shirt with England’s official badge in rainbow colours and a baseball cap in the same colours at the time of the incident.
He was attempting to access the Al Bayt Stadium in Qatar on Tuesday afternoon for the Netherlands’ match against the hosts.
The t-shirt he was wearing is from the Football Association’s official merchandise range, ‘black pride splatter’.
England supporter Anthony Johnson was subjected to a strip-search ordeal at the World Cup
Pictured: FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Group A match between Netherlands and Qatar at Al Bayt Stadium on November 29 in Al Khor, Qatar (file photo)
Johnson said he was made to take of all of his clothes, including his underwear, in front of a staff member.
‘We got to the main security at the stadium,’ Johnson told i.
‘I was asked to take my watch and belt off which I haven’t been at the other eight games I have been to.
‘When I went through again, a big burly security guard screamed in my face: ‘You don’t respect our culture’.
He added: ‘They then wand-ed me down.
‘The wand didn’t activate but they said I had some metal on me and ushered me into a private area where they asked me to first take off my shorts, then my shoes, then take my pants down then my underwear then strip fully naked.
‘Throughout, the guy was wand-ing my body and my clothes.
‘He was almost apologetic by the end because it was obvious to us both he wouldn’t find anything.
‘That all lasted about 10 minutes.’
When Johnson came back to the scanners, he said his cap, which he had been made to take off initially, had gone.
Security staff initially claimed he had not been wearing a cap, but it was later discovered behind the metal-detecting scanner.
Johnson was then caught up in a further security delay.
Pictured: Fans outside the stadium before the Wales v England match at Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium, Al Rayyan, Qatar (file photo)
He said: ‘I thought that was it, but just as I was about to swipe my tickets to go through the turnstiles two burly security people stepped in front of me and asked me to come and stand over in the corner of the concourse.
‘They went to fetch an official from the stadium who spoke better English.
‘There were up to seven people standing around me – four police, the one guy in a Fifa uniform and two in traditional Qatari dress.
‘He asked me to remove my hat.
‘I said that I was entitled to wear it and that Fifa had confirmed only three days ago that rainbow flags and dress were acceptable in stadiums.
‘He said: ‘We don’t care what Fifa say, we decide what comes in.’
‘He said: ‘Either you take off the hat or I will have to fetch a more senior colleague.’
‘I said: ‘Good, I’m happy to wait and please bring someone from Fifa.’
‘We then waited for about 10 minutes with all of them standing around me.
‘I said: ‘It’s getting close to the start of the game. I’m happy to take off the hat if you’ll put in writing in English your reasons for not allowing me to wear it’.
‘He said: ‘Fine, the senior person will do that’.
‘After another few minutes, a different policeman came over and told me I was allowed to go into the stadium.’
Fans across England were celebrating Tuesday evening after a 3-0 victory over Wales, which saw two goals from Marcus Rashford and the losing side knocked out of the tournament.
Qatar World Cup chief Hassan Al-Thawadi spoke to talkSPORT this week about reports of rainbow-coloured objects being confiscated by Qatari officials.
He said: ‘From day one, we have said everybody is welcome. We have also asked for people to come and respect our culture, our religion.
Pictured: Hassan Al Thawadi, Secretary General of the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, at Group A match between Qatar and Ecuador at Al Bayt Stadium
‘It’s not a Qatari culture or Qatari religion, these values are regional. It’s for the Islamic world, the Arab world, the Middle East.
‘We want everybody from every walk of life to come here and you’ve got people from every corner of the world engaging, educating themselves and having a good time.
‘But when it comes to a topic like this, it is a complicated topic. This is something for us, or at least for this part of the world, that is a fundamental part of religious values.’
Last week, two England fans dressed as Crusaders spoke of how security officers marched them from the stadium before making them strip naked as a ‘ritual humiliation’.
The expat Britons, who live in Qatar, said officers were ‘bullying and vindictive’ after confiscating their novelty swords, helmets and chainmail marked with the cross of St George, and asking them: ‘Are you here to kill Muslims?’
Fifa insisted the pair had been turned away from the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha where England played against Iran for being ‘offensive to Muslims’.
Football’s governing body added that ‘anti-discrimination colleagues asked fans to wear things inside out, or change dress’.
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