USA have redesigned their crest to feature the Pride rainbow in a show of solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community ahead of the World Cup in Qatar. It will be displayed at the nation’s training base in the Middle East and at pre-match parties US Soccer is hosting for fans the night before their fixtures.
Qatar’s human rights record and attitude towards homosexuality have been two major factors why FIFA’s 2010 awarding of the World Cup has been so controversial. But according to The Athletic, US Soccer informed the Qatari Supreme Committee of their plans in late 2021, telling them rather than asking for permission.
The players’ kits won’t feature the crest, but it will be on show in all areas they control. Neil Buethe, the USMNT’s Chief Communications Officer, told the Mail: “Our rainbow badge has an important and consistent role in the identity of US Soccer.
“As part of our approach for any match or event, we include rainbow branding to support and embrace the LGBTQ community, as well as to promote a spirit of inclusiveness and welcoming to all fans across the globe.
“As a result, locations that we will manage and operate at the FIFA World Cup, such as the team hotel, media areas and parties, will feature both traditional and rainbow US Soccer branding.”
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Male homosexuality is illegal in Qatar, punishable by up to three years in prison and possibly, for gay Muslims, by the death penalty. Earlier this month, Qatar World Cup ambassador Khalid Salman described homosexuality as ‘damage in the mind’.
He said: “They [fans] have to accept our rules here. [Homosexuality] is haram. You know what haram [forbidden] means?’ I am not a strict Muslim, but why is it haram? Because it is damage in the mind.”
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