OneLove bands and plastic swords: what’s banned at Qatar World Cup

‘Crusader’ costumes are the latest reported addition to the list of items unwelcome at the tournament

If you’re on your way to Qatar and looking forward to strolling up to Al Bayt Stadium in a bikini with a plastic sword in hand, OneLove band on your arm, rainbow hat on your head and raising a pint, you’re going to be disappointed.

The list of items banned at the World Cup continues to grow, most recently with reports that England fans have been told not to wear “crusader” costumes, occasionally favoured by middle-aged white men as misguided-at-best clothing for international matches.

Here we take a look at the items banned in Qatar so far.


Alcohol was banned for fans at the grounds in a last-minute and unprecedented volte-face two days before the tournament started. The sale of alcohol was limited to the Fifa fan festival, other fan destinations and licensed venues.

OneLove armbands

Fifa in effect banned the wearing of the armbands when it threatened to impose sanctions on any players who did so. A number of players, including the England captain, Harry Kane, had intended to wear the armband as a gesture, in part to highlight Qatar’s appalling human rights record, including but not limited to the treatment of LGBT+ people and the plight of potentially thousands of migrant workers who built the infrastructure for the tournament.

Rainbow hats

Football Association of Wales staff and Wales supporters have reportedly had rainbow-coloured bucket hats confiscated. Fifa and the Qataris were said to be in talks on the matter on Tuesday, where Fifa reminded the hosts of their assurances before the tournament that everyone was welcome and rainbow flags would be allowed.

Among reports were incidents of Welsh FA staff and fans being confronted by security for bringing the hats into the Ahmad bin Ali Stadium and a US fan with a rainbow flag being confronted on the metro. But on Friday, Fifa said fans would be allowed to wear rainbow bucket hats and take rainbow flags into the stadium for Wales’s match against Iran.

Bare chests

The Fifa stadium code of conduct states that fans must not “remove items of clothing or otherwise remain in a state of undress” – including being shirtless. And they must not “reveal intimate body parts”.

Plastic swords

The Times reported that England fans had been told not to dress as St George, the patron saint of England, portrayed as a “crusader knight” with mock chainmail and, often, a plastic sword.

The Crusades were a series of bloody religious wars in which Christian invaders, directed by the Latin church attempted to recover Jerusalem and its surrounding area from Islamic rule. Estimates of the death toll vary widely from 1.5 million to as many as 6 million. Fifa said: “Crusader costumes in the Arab context can be offensive against Muslims. That is why anti-discrimination colleagues asked fans to wear things inside out or change dress.”


Jamie Grierson

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
LGBTQ+ groups condemn Fifa over OneLove armband sanctions threat
Campaigners hit out after teams including England and Wales say players will not wear armband at World Cup in Qatar

Jamie Grierson

21, Nov, 2022 @1:11 PM

Article image
BBC ignores World Cup opening ceremony in favour of Qatar criticism
UK coverage kicks off with focus on treatment of migrant workers and gay people, and corruption at Fifa

Jim Waterson Media editor

20, Nov, 2022 @5:13 PM

Article image
OneLove armband sends ‘very divisive message’, says Qatar official
Head of World Cup organising committee says he sees rainbow armband as protest against Islamic values

Sean Ingle Chief sports reporter in Doha

28, Nov, 2022 @3:28 PM

Article image
German football federation to take legal action over Fifa’s OneLove armband ban
Move comes after supermarket chain cuts commercial ties with DFB in protest over row at World Cup

Kate Connolly in Berlin

22, Nov, 2022 @6:07 PM

Article image
As if by magic: Qatar World Cup stadium capacities grow by 12% overnight
The Qatar World Cup took another strange twist on Tuesday with the capacity of its eight stadiums officially growing by 12%

Sean Ingle and Paul MacInnes in Doha

22, Nov, 2022 @4:21 PM

Article image
BBC demands explanation for arrest of crew investigating Qatar World Cup
Qatari government defends jailing of Middle East correspondent Mark Lobel and others who were looking at situation of migrant workers after invite from PM

Owen Gibson and Matthew Weaver

18, May, 2015 @4:50 PM

Article image
Fifa World Cup revenue up by more than $1bn after taking tournament to Qatar
Fifa has increased its World Cup revenue by more than $1bn to $7.5bn after taking the tournament to Qatar, the governing body has revealed

Paul MacInnes in Doha

20, Nov, 2022 @1:29 PM

Article image
World Cup 2022: everything you need to know about host country Qatar
Football’s grandest tournament will kick off for the first time in the Middle East on Sunday. Here is a guide to the host country

Oliver Holmes

18, Nov, 2022 @9:43 AM

Article image
Robbie Williams defends decision to perform in Qatar during World Cup
Singer said he didn’t ‘condone any abuses of human rights’ but it would be ‘hypocritical’ not to go

Nadeem Badshah

18, Nov, 2022 @9:55 PM

Article image
The Qatar World Cup furore puts football on trial | Jim Murphy

Jim Murphy: If proved, the scandals rocking the Qatar World Cup damage not only Fifa, but the egalitarian ideal of football itself

Jim Murphy

01, Jun, 2014 @6:35 PM