Man with rainbow flag invades pitch during World Cup game
A man invades the pitch holding a LGBT flag as he wears a t-shirt reading "Respect for Iranian woman" during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group H football match between Portugal and Uruguay at the Lusail Stadium in Lusail, north of Doha on November 28, 2022.Glyn KIRK / AFP

DOHA, Qatar (AFP) -- A man with a rainbow flag and wearing a T-shirt with the words "Respect for Iranian Woman" on the back invaded the pitch during a match at the Qatar World Cup on Monday.

The man was on the field for about 30 seconds during the second half of the game between Portugal and Uruguay before being escorted off by security. He also had the words "Save Ukraine" on the front.

Gay rights and the use of the rainbow flag have been a simmering issue at the World Cup in the Gulf state, where homosexuality is illegal.

Captains of seven European teams had planned to wear rainbow-themed anti-discrimination armbands during the tournament as part of a campaign for diversity.

But they backed down over the threat of disciplinary action from football's governing body FIFA, including yellow cards.

Britain's sports minister Stuart Andrew will wear the rainbow-coloured armband when he attends England's clash with Wales on Tuesday.

Fans complained earlier in the tournament that they had been told to remove items of clothing with the rainbow on them.

Iran's team has separately been in the spotlight because of anti-government protests at home.

Iran's team did not sing the national anthem before their first game against England in an apparent gesture of solidarity with the protesters.

Iran has been shaken by more than two months of nationwide demonstrations since the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in morality police custody on September 16.

Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian of Kurdish origin, died three days after her arrest in Tehran over an alleged breach of the dress code for women, which includes the mandatory hijab headscarf.

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