England fans unveil LGBT flag during World Cup match
English LGBT football fans have unfurled a rainbow England flag during their first World Cup match against Tunisia.
The Three Lions Pride LGBT football group of England supporters, posted pictures of the flag at the game on Twitter.
Norwich fan Di Cunningham, wrote on the account that the group were held for 15 minutes by security before they entered the stadium, who checked the flag before they were allowed to bring it inside.
— 3LIONSPRIDE ????⚽️????????️? (@3Lionspride) June 18, 2018
Prior to the match Cunnigham told PinkNews: “We’re excited! It’s great to have the support of FIFA, & the English FA to help make #LGBT+ fans visible and welcome at this World Cup. We’ve had some trolling on social media but have seen and felt overwhelming backing globally for inclusion of our fan community at international competitions.”
The flag has the full support of the Football Association.
“The FA definitely wants it to be seen and wants us to go,” said Cunningham. “They have endorsed it,” Cunningham added.
It comes after a Russian fan flew a rainbow flag during the first game of the tournament.
The president of the Russian LGBT Sport Federation, Alexander Agapov, hit the headlines when he waved a rainbow flag on June 14.
The woman behind the LGBT English flag told Al Jazeera she was apprehensive before travelling to Russia, because of her sexuality.
The alliance of LGBT football fans received threatening anonymous emails, including a warning that they would be “stabbed” if they made the trip to the World Cup.
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“We have received several warnings that LGBT fans will not be welcome in Russia and some were quite drastic in terms of what would happen to us if we did go,” Cunningham told Al Jazeera.
Cunningham added that it was “unfortunate” that FIFA is holding the prestigious tournament in a country where “some people are unwelcomed [sic].”
According to Al Jazeera, Pride in Football, the UK alliance for fan groups that belong to the LGBT community, has handed a complaint to FIFA, and Al Jazeera were told that the threats are being investigated.