Armband U-turn and Infantino’s rant – the controversies so far at the World Cup

Qatar have faced increasing scrutiny leading into the winter World Cup.

Here the PA news agency looks at some of the controversies during the tournament.

Alcohol banned at stadiums – November 18

The sale of alcohol to fans at World Cup stadiums was banned just two days before the tournament kicked off.

Budweiser was the only alcoholic beverage available to fans due to its sponsorship of FIFA.

Gianni Infantino’s rant – November 19

Gianni Infantino was heavily criticised for an hour-long monologue
Gianni Infantino was heavily criticised for an hour-long monologue (Nick Potts/PA)

Gianni Infantino took aim at European critics of Qatar on the eve of the tournament in an extraordinary hour-long monologue.

The FIFA president claimed he understood the discrimination being faced by some groups due to being bullied for his “red hair and freckles” as a child and accused European countries of hypocrisy towards Qatar due to their own immigration policies.

‘One Love’ armband U-turn – November 21

Harry Kane with the One Love armband
Harry Kane with the One Love armband (Nick Potts/PA)

Six European nations decided against wearing their ‘One Love’ armbands at the tournament hours before England captain Harry Kane was set to don one after FIFA threatened them with sporting sanctions.

The rainbow-coloured anti-discrimination armband had been set to be a strong statement in a country which criminalises same-sex relationships, but the fear of players picking up bookings saw teams make a late U-turn.

Ticket problems for England fans – November 21

Empty seats at the Khalifa International Stadium
There were a lot of empty seats when England kicked off against Iran (Martin Rickett/PA)

England’s opening match against Iran at the Khalifa International Stadium began in front of swathes of empty seats after huge numbers of fans had trouble accessing the ground.

FIFA’s ticketing app failed in the build-up to the game, delaying entry and creating large queues as supporters tried to gain access.

Iran goalkeeper concussion – November 21

Iran goalkeeper Ali Beiranvand
Iran goalkeeper Ali Beiranvand initially attempted to play on after suffering a head injury against England (Mike Egerton/PA)

Iran goalkeeper Ali Beiranvand appeared to be concussed after a sickening clash of heads with team-mate Majid Hosseini in the first half of his side’s game against England.

Remarkably, he was allowed to continue playing despite receiving treatment for several minutes and continuing to look unwell after getting back to his feet. He slumped to the ground moments after play resumed and was finally substituted.