Robbie Williams faces backlash over planned performance in Qatar during World Cup

Robbie Williams wears a red animal-print patterned outfit as he sings into a microphone

Robbie Williams is facing backlash after it was revealed he will be performing in Qatar during the World Cup. 

The English singer, who faced criticism when he performed at the 2018 World Cup in Russia, was unveiled as one of the music acts set to perform at the Qatar Live concerts set to take place in December. The month-long series of acts is set to coincide with the World Cup, which runs from 20 November to 18 December. 

The decision by FIFA to hold the World Cup in Qatar has been surrounded by controversy given the country’s human rights records – particularly the treatment of migrant workers and the LGBTQ+ community.

Williams is set to play at the Doha Golf Club on 8 December with other big acts playing gigs in the days following to coincide with the 2022 World Cup. 

​​Paul O’Grady was shocked that Robbie Williams was performing in Qatar and predicted there will be “backlash by the LGBTQ community” if he goes through with it, the Sun reported. 

“I’m surprised at Robbie. There’ll be a backlash by the LGBTQ community if he does perform,” O’Grady said. “No amount of money would get me there.”

Amnesty International’s Peter Frankental wanted to see Williams use his concert to “publicly address the topic of Qatar’s poor human rights record”, the Mirror reported. 

“Major stars like Robbie Williams have significant influence and we’d like to see him using this concert to publicly address the topic of Qatar’s poor human rights record, especially widespread labour abuses and the ­criminalisation of LGBTI people,” Frankental said.

He added that a few well-chosen words from the singer “would be hugely welcome”.

PinkNews has contacted representatives for Williams.

Robbie Williams wears a pink outfit as he sings into a microphone

Robbie Williams previously faced backlash for performing at the 2018 World Cup in Russia. (Getty)

Amnesty International has urged FIFA to set aside at least $440m – the equivalent it hands out in World Cup prize money – to compensate migrant workers who suffered or died building stadiums for the football event.

Homosexuality is illegal in Qatar, and queer people could face up to several years in prison plus a hefty fine if convicted. Sharia law may also be applied to some Muslims, which imposes the death penalty for homosexuality.

David Beckham has also faced backlash for accepting a sponsorship deal to promote Qatar ahead of the World Cup. Beckham has remained silent on the criticism of his work thus far.

The football legend was accused of “stamping out hope” for the LGBTQ+ community in Qatar over his promotional work by Dr Nas Mohamed, who has been labelled as the ‘first’ Qatari man to come out publicly as gay.

Judge Rinder slammed Beckham for putting “money before morals” with his Qatar World Cup Work. The TV host added the decision to even hold the tournament in the country was a “disgrace”. 

The Football Association’s chief executive Mark Bullingham said it had received assurances from Qatari officials that LGBTQ+ people won’t be prosecuted for holding hands or kissing at the World Cup

Yet, LGBTQ+ football fans told PinkNews that they still had several concerns for their safety at the Qatar World Cup.