England Lionesses hero Beth Mead refuses to support Qatar World Cup: ‘There’s no respect’

England Lionesses’ Beth Mead has said she won’t be supporting the World Cup in Qatar as the country shows “no respect” for LGBTQ+ rights.

Ahead of the tournament on 20 November, the openly gay Arsenal forward has said the Gulf state isn’t the “right place” for the event to be held. 

Mead told BBC Radio 4 she won’t be “backing or promoting” the Qatar World Cup due to the country’s horrific LGBTQ+ laws which can see queer people facing up to seven years in prison if convicted. 

Under Sharia law it is technically possible for men found to have engaged in same-sex relationships to be sentenced to death.

“It’s disappointing in the sense there’s no respect on a lot of levels, even though it’s a game of football. 

“Although I’m cheering for the boys who are going to play football there, from the minute it was announced I thought it wasn’t the best idea,” Mead said.

Mead recently secured a place in the Guinness Book of World Records for scoring the most goals at the Women’s Euro 2022 tournament – a feat which saw her win the coveted Golden Boot.

Players told to ‘focus on the football’

In response to searing criticism mounted due to the World Cup’s location, FIFA’s president Gianna Infantino, and the governing body’s secretary general Fatma Samoura, have written to World Cup teams asking them to focus on the game and not activism to confront the nations awful human rights record. 

Infantino and Samoura wrote: “Please, let’s now focus on the football”.

The pair went on to ask players to “not allow football to be dragged into every ideological or political battle that exists”. 

Thankfully this advice isn’t likely to be listened to, as the head of the Football Association of Wales has already confirmed its players will be free to speak out about Qatar’s human rights record.

Australia’s national football team, Socceroos, have also used their platform to criticise the country.

Football fans have been urged  to use their “common sense”, and be “respectful” of the host nation by the UK’s Foreign secretary James Cleverly.