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Man told to remove rainbow flag from Russian stadium during World Cup

Joe White held up the banner while England beat Panama 6-1

2018-06-25

A man was told to remove a rainbow flag from inside a Russian stadium during England’s win against Panama yesterday (June 24).

Joe White, 25, held up the Three Lions Pride St George’s Cross – which features a rainbow stripe – and just before England’s win, a steward removed the banner claiming “those colours are not allowed”.

Joe then contacted FIFA and the Football Supporter’s Federation who both overruled the steward’s decision.

The Three Lions Pride Support group travelled to Russia to support England and raise awareness of LGBT issues and Joe said it was “frustrating” to have the steward remove the rainbow-inspired banner.

He told the Press Association: “One of the supervisors has gone and taken it down and taken it away.

“They said, ‘Oh no, you’re not allowed those colours in here’ meaning the rainbow flag so obviously there’s an issue.

“It was a touch and go situation but it got put back up in time for the game. I think for me I started getting really annoyed and angry because we had these reassurances.

“We’ve come over not just to support England, which is obviously a huge part of why we’re here, we’re here because we are England fans but also to show solidarity with LGBT Russians.

“To have that visibility and start that conversation that might not otherwise be had and so to be defined when there wasn’t that issue.

“It was just frustrating more than anything. It did start to tarnish it a little bit.”

Although it is legal to be gay in Russia, the 2013 gay propaganda law makes it illegal for anyone to promote homosexuality meaning the rainbow banner stands against Putin’s anti-gay law.