Gay football fan pleads with Qatar ambassador to abolish death penalty ahead of World Cup

A close-up of a football boot showing laces in rainbow pride colours

Qatar’s ambassador to Germany has been confronted with an urgent plea to abolish his country’s death penalty for homosexuality.

The plea was made at a human rights congress hosted by the German soccer federation on Monday (19 September). 

It comes two months prior to Qatar hosting the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022. Under the country’s penal code it continues to punish same-sex relations with up to seven years imprisonment, while queer Muslim men, under Sharia law, can be punished with the death penalty. 

Fan representative, Dario Minden, directly addressed the Qatari ambassador, Abdulla bin Mohammed bin Saud Al Thani, at the congress in Frankfurt. 

He said: “I’m a man and I love men. 

“I do – please don’t be shocked – have sex with other men. This is normal. So please get used to it, or stay out of football.

“Because the most important rule in football is football is for everyone. It doesn’t matter if you’re lesbian, if you’re gay. It’s for everyone. For the boys. For the girls. And for everyone in between.”

Minden went on to ask Al Thani to “abolish the death penalty” and “all of the penalties regarding sexual and gender identity”. 

He added: “The rule that football is for everyone is so important. We cannot allow you to break it, no matter how rich you are. You are more than welcome to join the international football community and also, of course, to host a big tournament.”

Al Thani was given the chance to respond later, though his comments were to remain off-the-record, Blue Mountains Gazette reported. 

Only the opening 90 minutes of the federation’s congress were broadcast to the public, and no journalists were allowed to enter the event.

Federation spokesman Steffan Simon explained it was not the organisation’s decision to hold the majority of the congress off camera. 

Before Minden spoke, Al Thani apparently complained that the issue of human rights was diverting attention from the tournament. 

He said: “We all care about human rights. But I would have enjoyed (it) more if I saw some concentration not only on just one subject, but the enjoyment of football and the football effect on people around the world.

“Yes, we are not perfect. We are not claiming we are perfect, but it’s a journey that we will write.”

FIFA’s decision to allow Qatar to host the World Cup was met with widespread backlash over its human rights record.