Wales wears RAINBOW sleeve in defiant stand at Qatar World Cup

Wales wears RAINBOW sleeve in defiant stand at Qatar World Cup

Updated: 6 days, 2 hours, 31 minutes, 23 seconds ago

Welsh players wore a rainbow sleeve during their warm-up ahead of the Iran match at the Qatar World Cup in a defiant stand.

Captain Gareth Bale led the way as all 26 players wore a white top with multi-coloured stripes running down each shoulder pre-match.

As the players returned down the tunnel, they later re-emerged to walk out for the game with rainbow stripes wrapping around part of their jacket sleeves amid an ongoing row with FIFA over political statements, and its ban on the LGBTQ 'OneLove armband.

Wales escaped an early scare after an Iranian goal was ruled offside in the crucial tie.

Minutes earlier, thousands of Welsh fans belted out their national anthem and the Iranian fans jeered their own - in solidarity with protesters back home in Iran.

Iran's players, though, appeared to back down from their protest following pressure from the Islamic regime. 

The warm-up tops come after FIFA threatened a number of European nations with sporting sanctions if captains went ahead with plans to wear the OneLove armband during their opening games.

The federations of England, Wales, Belgium, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Germany and Denmark had said on Monday they had been put under pressure by FIFA not to wear the multi-coloured armband.

It is understood that Bale and other World Cup skippers would not even have been allowed on the pitch if they had worn the armbands.

Gareth Bale applauds as he warms up prior to the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group B football match between Wales and Iran Gareth Bale applauds as he warms up prior to the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group B football match between Wales and Iran

Gareth Bale applauds as he warms up prior to the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group B football match between Wales and Iran

Jonny Williams (L) and Dylan Levitt of Wales prepare to enter the pitch for warm ups prior to the match Jonny Williams (L) and Dylan Levitt of Wales prepare to enter the pitch for warm ups prior to the match

Jonny Williams (L) and Dylan Levitt of Wales prepare to enter the pitch for warm ups prior to the match

The warm-up tops come after FIFA threatened a number of European nations with sporting sanctions if captains went ahead with plans to wear the OneLove armband The warm-up tops come after FIFA threatened a number of European nations with sporting sanctions if captains went ahead with plans to wear the OneLove armband

The warm-up tops come after FIFA threatened a number of European nations with sporting sanctions if captains went ahead with plans to wear the OneLove armband

As the players returned down the tunnel, they later re-emerged to walk out for the game with rainbow stripes wrapping around part of their jacket sleeve As the players returned down the tunnel, they later re-emerged to walk out for the game with rainbow stripes wrapping around part of their jacket sleeve

As the players returned down the tunnel, they later re-emerged to walk out for the game with rainbow stripes wrapping around part of their jacket sleeve

Wales wore jackets with a rainbow ringed around the sleeve as they belted out their national anthem ahead of the game Wales wore jackets with a rainbow ringed around the sleeve as they belted out their national anthem ahead of the game

Wales wore jackets with a rainbow ringed around the sleeve as they belted out their national anthem ahead of the game

Wales fans in the stands during the FIFA World Cup Group B match at the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium ahead of kick-off Wales fans in the stands during the FIFA World Cup Group B match at the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium ahead of kick-off

Wales fans in the stands during the FIFA World Cup Group B match at the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium ahead of kick-off

Fans of Wales pictured in the Red Wall ahead of the crucial match against Iran this morning Fans of Wales pictured in the Red Wall ahead of the crucial match against Iran this morning

Fans of Wales pictured in the Red Wall ahead of the crucial match against Iran this morning

The German Football Association (DFB) claimed earlier this week that England and other teams were faced with 'extreme blackmail' or 'massive sanctions' that led to them dropping the gesture. 

The threat led to all seven countries abandoning the plans.

Germany protested against FIFA's stance by covering their mouths for a team photo before their match against Japan on Wednesday, to highlight how they felt silenced.

It also comes after former Wales captain Laura McAllister was among female football fans who were 'told to take off their rainbow bucket hats' ahead of the Dragons' first match against the US on Monday night. Men, however, were allowed to keep them on. 

Homosexuality is illegal in the Gulf state and punishable by up to seven years in prison. 

Iran players refused to sing their national anthem ahead of their match against England on Monday, but appeared to back down before the Wales game today.

Their previous refusal to sing was a show of solidarity with protesters in their home country, hundreds of whom have been killed in clashes with government security services over the death of Mahsa Amini – a woman who died in custody after being arrested by the Tehran's morality police.

But many Iranian fans in the stands still displayed slogans supporting the protests on Friday, drawing particular attention to human rights issues and the plight of women.

Qatari authorities took particular issue with one female fan, who had painted her face white – with bloody tears pouring out from her eyes. She held up an Iranian football shirt displaying the name of Mahsa Amini and the number 22 - her age when she died.

Meanwhile, the Red Wall basked in bright sunshine and 29C temperatures as the sea of fans watched captain Gareth Bale and his teammates begin their match in Doha's Ahmad bin Ali Stadium, which got off to a frenetic, end-to-end start. 

But in the build-up to the kick-off, attention was elsewhere. While some of Iran's players gave a muted rendition of their anthem, their fans jeered as it was played over the stadium's speakers.

The Welsh team, led by captain Gareth Bale, belt out their national anthem ahead of the match against Iran The Welsh team, led by captain Gareth Bale, belt out their national anthem ahead of the match against Iran

The Welsh team, led by captain Gareth Bale, belt out their national anthem ahead of the match against Iran

The Red Wall basked in bright sunshine and 29C temperatures as the sea of fans watched captain Gareth Bale and his teammates begin their match The Red Wall basked in bright sunshine and 29C temperatures as the sea of fans watched captain Gareth Bale and his teammates begin their match

The Red Wall basked in bright sunshine and 29C temperatures as the sea of fans watched captain Gareth Bale and his teammates begin their match

Welsh fans sing in a Cardiff pub ahead of the crucial match as anticipation built for Wales' second game of the tournament Welsh fans sing in a Cardiff pub ahead of the crucial match as anticipation built for Wales' second game of the tournament

Welsh fans sing in a Cardiff pub ahead of the crucial match as anticipation built for Wales' second game of the tournament

Before kick off, anticipation was building outside the stadium and at the Corniche Walk Park, with pictures showing hundreds of fans in football kits, proudly waving flags emblazoned with the red Welsh dragon.

A sea of red shirts and bucket hats could be seen on the city's waterfront, along with the Urdd Youth Choir and Yma o Hyd singer Dafydd Iwan, with the crowd belting out fan favourites including I Love You Baby, and the Welsh national anthem.

After their 1-1 draw with the USA on Monday, Wales are chasing a historic first World Cup victory in 64 years that would take them a significant step closer to progressing from the group stage. Their final match comes against England on Tuesday.

Around 5,000 Wales fans are inside the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium to watch their team appearing at their first World Cup since 1958.

England will play the US in the other Group B match today, but fans dressed as Crusaders have been turned away from World Cup matches in Qatar as their costumes are 'offensive to Muslims'.

Two fancy-dress knights were allegedly seen on social media trying to get through security before England's match with Iran on Monday. They were wearing chainmail and helmets bearing St George's Cross.

It is claimed that the pair, who were also carrying novelty swords, were escorted away by four officers at the security gate before kick-off.

And a similar experience could be in store for those attending tonight's match against the USA, with the Times reporting Three Lions fans have been banned from dressing as the Christian invaders.