'Take it off!' World Cup TV reporter confronted live on air by Qatari police for wearing LGBT armband
A number of national teams had planned on wearing the OneLove armband before FIFA threatened sanctions
A Danish journalist was threatened by Qatari officials after he was seen filming wearing a OneLove armband in Doha.
TV 2 Sport broadcaster Jon Pagh was filming on Monday outside the Denmark national team’s hotel when a police officer stopped him – while the cameras were still recording.
Mr Pagh shared the video online.
In the video, the Qatari police officer tells Mr Pagh the armband was “not allowed,” but the journalist questioned back: “Who told you that I can’t have it on?”
He asked what he could do as he was reporting on the controversial armband.
“I respect that you’re telling me that, but I can’t take it off. Why is it not allowed?”
When Mr Pagh asked the officer if it was because of the colours, the official replied: “Yes.”
After the incident, the journalist spoke with Danish newspaper Tipbladet, telling them “we must be careful about activism.”
He said: “It was not at all in my mind that it would provoke anything.
“I myself am also very careful not to do activism, but it is the same political message that is in FIFA's rules and human rights.
“For me it is not politics. It's human rights. It is an article of clothing which I wear and which in the Western world and according to all human rights I am allowed to wear.
“I really hope that no one takes this as an attempt to provoke anything. We are standing in the middle of the dark, 30 kilometres out in the desert. I didn't think for a second that this could be a problem.”
The OneLove nations issued a joint statement on Monday confirming they would not wear the bands, hours before England’s opening match against Iran kicked off.
The armbands were part of a year-long campaign which began in September, but were set to be especially significant in Qatar, a country which criminalises same-sex relationships.
FIFA-approved armbands promoting ‘No discrimination’ were made available to be worn instead, but FIFA only announced plans for its own armbands in support of a series of social campaigns on Saturday.
Even then, the ‘No discrimination’ band was only set to be worn at the quarter-final stage but on Monday FIFA issued an update to say countries now had the option to wear those bands immediately.
Critics of FIFA have accused them of bowing to the sensitivities of the host nation, having already performed a late U-turn on the sale of alcohol within stadium perimeters.
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