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Guelph woman has Canadian PRIDE flag confiscated at World Cup

Helen Loftin was in attendance for Canada's matchup against Belgium at the FIFA World Cup in Qatar
Guelph's Helen Loftin, holding a Canadian flag with the maple leaf donning PRIDE colours, stands in Ahmad bin Ali Stadium in Qatar ahead of Canada's FIFA World Cup match against Belgium.

Guelph's Helen Loftin found herself dealing with security ahead of Canada's matchup with Belgium at the FIFA World Cup.

Loftin was in attendance at Ahmad bin Ali Stadium in Al Rayyan, Qatar Wednesday.

On Twitter, she posted a photo of her in the stands with a Canadian PRIDE flag – a Canadian flag with the maple leaf adorning rainbow colours – with the message she's "so proud of Canada for so many reasons."

She said her flag was confiscated by authorities at the stadium just before the FIFA Unites the World theme played.

Qatar has faced criticism, many showing concerns about LGBTQ and other human rights issues.

Canadian Soccer Hall of Famer Carrie Serwetnyk, a gay woman, said the event is "still trying to find its joy."

"Of course, this is a huge blemish on (FIFA)," she told The Canadian Press.

"They're getting battered by the press. I think they'll take a hard look at future choices, but I also think the Middle East deserves a World Cup."

University of Guelph professor Alan McDougall told GuelphToday in an earlier interview there have been "comments from officials around the tournament, for example, saying that homosexuality is reflection of damaged minds."

"All of this has meant that the tournament's been dubbed by political controversy, really from day one," he said.


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Mark Pare

About the Author: Mark Pare

Originally from Timmins, ON, Mark is a longtime journalist and broadcaster, who has worked in several Ontario markets.
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