Qatar: We will find ‘creative’ solutions to gays at the World Cup

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The Qatari sports minister has claimed that his country will find “creative” solutions to gay people attending the world cup despite its ban on homosexuality.

The Middle Eastern country, where gay men can face up to five years in jail for engaging in consensual sex, is set to host the 2022 World Cup despite a number of concerns over its viability.

The country was cleared to host the World Cup by football’s governing body this week, after a FIFA investigation into alleged corruption in the bidding process found that rule breaches were “of very limited scope”.

Shortly after the country was cleared to host the event, sports minister Salah bin Ghanem bin Nasser al-Ali dismissed concerns over his country’s homophobic laws, pledging “creative” solutions to allow gay fans.

He told AP: “It’s exactly like the alcohol question.”

“[Qatar doesn’t want to create] this impression, illusion that we don’t care about our tradition and our ethical values.

“We are studying all these issues. We can adapt, we can be creative to have people coming and enjoying the games without losing the essence of our culture and respecting the preference of the people coming here.

“I think there is a lot we can do.”

England women’s player Casey Stoney – who is expecting a child with her same-sex partner – has said she will boycott the Qatar event because she “wouldn’t be accepted there”.