LGBTQ+ football fans told to use ‘common sense’ ahead of World Cup in homophobic Qatar

Fifa World Cup 2022 logo being projected on a building in Qatar

Football fans attending the FIFA World Cup in Qatar have been urged to use their “common sense”.

The 2022 World Cup will go ahead in Qatar this November and December, despite intense criticism of Qatar’s human rights atrocities, including its persecution of LGBTQ+ people.

Homosexuality is illegal in Qatar. Being found guilty of same-sex relations can result in a seven year prison sentence under the countries penal code, and it is technically possible for men found to have engaged in same-sex intimacy to be sentenced to death under Sharia law.

Despite all this, Football Association of Wales chief executive Noel Mooney told The Mirror that he has been given assurances LGBTQ+ fans will be welcomed at the World Cup.

However, he asked fans to avoid “provocation”.

“We have a very strong LGBTQ community among our supporters and a good number are travelling for sure,” he said.

“We’ve been told there will be tolerance but even as a heterosexual couple they don’t do public affection on the streets.”

Mooney added: “Where to watch is provocation. If you’re going to a mosque and running around with a rainbow flag, then that kind of stuff is when we ask people to demonstrate common sense.

“We’re going to a different country with a different culture. When people visit our culture they see things in ours they won’t like either so we’re urging common sense first of all and to be tolerant and mindful of their culture. When you go on holiday to another country you do think of their culture and behave in a certain way to show respect for that,” he said.

Mooney said that talks with organisers are ongoing, and emphasised that he has een told “everyone is very welcome and it will be an inclusive World Cup”.

Fans have called to boycott Qatar. (Credit; Matthias Hangst/Getty Images)

FIFA has faced backlash ever since Qatar was chosen to host the World Cup in 2010, due the ban on same-sex relations, human rights abuses, its treatment of women and the exploitation migrant communities experience.

Gay footballer Josh Cavallo spoke out against Qatar hosting the tournament after coming out in 2021. He said he would be “scared” if called up to play.

“I read something along the lines of that [Qatar] give the death penalty for gay people in Qatar, so it’s something I’m very scared [of] and wouldn’t really want to go to Qatar for that,” Cavallo told The Guardian‘s Today in Focus podcast.

“And that saddens me. At the end of the day, the World Cup is in Qatar and one of the greatest achievements as a professional footballer is to play for your country.

“And to know that this is in a country that doesn’t support gay people and puts us at risk of our own life, that does scare me and makes me re-evaluate – is my life more important than doing something really good in my career?”

Cavallo was reassured personally by Nasser Al Khater, the chief executive of the tournament in Qatar, who told CNN that he should not be concerned.

“We welcome him here in the state of Qatar, we welcome him to come and see, even prior to the World Cup,” he said.

In May, the emir of Qatar, sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, said Qatar “welcome[s] everybody, but we also expect and want people to respect our culture”, per Human Rights Watch.


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