Swiss FA stands up to Qatar’s horrendous LGBTQ+ laws in World Cup video

Swiss FA shows gay couple holding hands in promotional squad announcement video ahead of the Qatar World Cup

The Swiss FA has included a clip of a gay couple holding hands in a video announcing its squad ahead of the Qatar World Cup, seemingly in defiance of the country’s horrendous anti-LGBTQ+ laws.

The video announcing the Swiss national team contains stunning clips of the country’s landscape alongside several fans wearing the team’s shirts – including a gay couple walking hand-in-hand.

The video comes after months of debate on whether LGBTQ+ fans are safe to visit Qatar for the World Cup, a country in which it is illegal to be gay, and abuses against the LGBTQ+ community have been reported as recently as October.

A longer version of the video includes an interview with Swiss FA spokesman Adrian Arnold, who confirmed Swiss team captain Granit Xhaka will be wearing the OneLove anti-discrimination armband throughout the tournament.

‘The same rights should apply to everyone’

Arnold said: “With the clear demand to all those involved that the same rights should apply to everyone around the world, including in Qatar, regardless of a person’s political, religious or sexual orientation, we have decided together with the players that we will wear the OneLove captain’s armband.

Granit Xhaka will do so for the games at the World Cup as a signal that the same rights should apply to all people in the world – regardless of their political, religious or sexual orientation.”

Switzerland is one of nine European nations, including England and Wales, who have stated they will be wearing the One Love armband throughout the tournament in Qatar.

As the competition approaches, the debate around Qatar’s human rights laws grows increasingly heated.

Qatari World Cup ambassador Khalid Salman recently doubled down on his comments about homosexuality being a “damage in the mind”, stating that the conservative country “will not change” for the football tournament.

Salman came under fire on Tuesday (8 November) for an interview in which he said homosexuality is “haram”, or forbidden, because it is “damage in the mind”.

He has since stated that his comments were taken out of context, but stresses his anti-LGBTQ+ stance.

“I regret that what I said was taken out of context, because neither our religion nor our nature is to offend or insult.

“Everyone is welcome in Qatar, but our religion and culture will not change for the championship.”

Ahead of the tournament, which starts on 20 November, LGBTQ+ football fans have been repeatedly reassured that they will be able to attend the World Cup in Qatar safely, with FIFA stating that it has a “strategic programme of concrete measures” in place for the event.

Chief executive of the Football Association (FA), Mark Bullingham, promised that fans will not face arrest for holding hands or kissing at the World Cup, but Qatar’s ambassador to the UK has said LGBTQ+ couples should be mindful of “public displays of affection”.

PinkNews has contacted the Swiss FA for comment.