An Australian fan was refused entry to the ticketing center because of the pride flag

WHO: An Australian fan was turned away from the main ticketing center after his bag was checked at the World Cup, where he was told he would not be allowed into the country because of his pride flag.

The fan, who asked not to be named for security reasons, told Wide World of Sports that he tried to enter the ticketing building at the Doha Exhibition and Convention Center but was turned away.

He said he was initially determined to bring a rainbow version of the Australian flag to Qatar, but that experience has stopped him from trying to take it elsewhere.

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“After they looked at my bag, they said I couldn’t get in – I haven’t tried in any games or anything since that experience,” he said.

“I’m very sorry for coming – but I came for football.”

FIFA has been contacted for comment.

Sports and politics mix

Federal Sports Minister Anika Wells was in Doha to visit Australia’s Aspire Academy, among other official duties – but also stopped to speak to reporters.

When there’s a story about anti-racism, anti-homophobia or any other socially progressive cause, the relatively predictable response from detractors is that “sport and politics don’t mix” – so Wide World of Sports asked the minister what he thought. that.

Anika Wells reacts in the stands after Australia’s goal against France. (FIFA)

“In my experience as a suburban mom and now sports minister, compared to a politician, sport is as much politics as politics,” she said.

“The people who try to keep politics out of sports are the ones who have power right now, they try to hold that power against others, and then they try to take their place and have a say – that’s why I’m so strong about athletes’ rights. .”

The minister said he supports players having more power to speak out and use their platforms for their beliefs.

“We’re modernizing into an athlete-led environment to speak more broadly about where we are as a country right now.”

Asian tensions continue

While Japan beating Germany felt good for the underdog fans, it was impossible not to feel jealous from Australia’s point of view.

Two heavy losses to the Asian Confederation sealed a stunning upset in one day, but sandwiched between Australia’s heavy loss to France.

You only have to look at the qualifying campaign to see the differences – Australia struggled after a hot start and finished well behind both the Samurai Blue and Green Hawks.

Despite the appearance, the bite problems persist

Ben Blumberg is supporting the Footballers in their second World Cup – and in the fan village, which he admits is a “shipping container” but says it’s been very positive so far.

“The prospect of a World Cup in Qatar wasn’t attractive, but you have to do it when they qualify,” he told Wide World of Sports.

“It’s in its own right. Everyone was in different hotels in Russia, but that way you can meet so many people from other countries – I’m staying with an Iranian guy and this morning I was invited to have tea with some Iranians. He spoke to Japanese and Pakistani fans this morning. .”

Socceroos fan Ben Blumberg is on his second World Cup. (Matt Bungard)

Of course, there are downsides – he notes the lack of fans of the traditional European powerhouses who travel, as well as some small things on the day.

“This country also has no experience hosting events, from what I’ve seen so far,” he said.

Bloomberg was one of many fans left stranded during the opening days of the tournament due to problems with the World Cup ticketing program.

“I transferred a ticket to me during the day and was updating the app all day but it wasn’t coming, I queued at the ticket help window at 6.30am at 7.00pm when two people were trying to help. a hundred people – thankfully it worked out in the end, but others weren’t so lucky.”

The Canadiens make the most of the first game in 36 years

For the first World Cup game since 1986, a large contingent of Canadian fans flocked to Ahmed Bin Ali Stadium, almost exactly where Welsh fans had been two nights before.

Saudi Arabia have undoubtedly been the loudest group so far, but the Canadian fans are fighting hard in the negotiations for second place and brought plenty of energy to their loss to Belgium – the ground was absolutely jumping when they were awarded an early penalty and even Alphonso Davies couldn’t convert, they were on the way. they kept it in the rest.

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