The Qatari body tasked with overseeing the FINA Swimming World Cup removed the Israeli flag from outside one of its venues and also whited out the flag on swimming lanes, Israel Hayom reports.
Aspire Zone, a 2.5 square kilometer (1 square mile) sporting zone in the Qatari capital, may have been responding to pressure from local groups, who expressed opposition to raising the Israeli flag publicly. Qatar won the bid to host the 2022 World Soccer Cup. It will be the first Arab state to host the tournament.
The controversy apparently started when someone tweeted a photo of the Israeli flag standing beside several other flags outside the venue.
Security guards confirmed to news outlets that the flag had been removed.
In addition to erasing any physical semblance of the Jewish state, the Israeli flag was also “whitewashed” by Qatari broadcasters, who replaced Israel’s iconic blue Star of David with a simple white box alongside Amit Ivri’s name during her race.