Majority of UK fans oppose Qatar hosting World Cup due to horrific LGBTQ+ rights record

Visitors take photos with a FIFA World Cup sign in Doha, Qatar

A new poll has revealed there’s strong opposition in the UK to the World Cup being held in Qatar due to its persecution of LGBTQ+ people.

Ahead of the World Cup, criticism against Qatar continues to mount due to its horrendous anti-LGBTQ+ laws.

Under Qatar’s Penal Code 2004 there is the possibility of queer people being jailed for up to seven years for having sex, if convicted, and under Sharia law those in same-sex relationships can be sentenced to death.

A new survey which polled 2,030 adults has discovered that a whopping 62 per cent of British people of mixed ages, genders and political beliefs, believe Qatar’s stance on gay rights should ban it from hosting the global tournament. 

Meanwhile, 24 per cent said the country’s laws shouldn’t stop it from hosting the World Cup and 14 per cent of respondents were unsure. 

A total of 43 per cent of Britons questioned said England and Wales are right to take part in the games, 39 per cent said the teams shouldn’t participate, and 18 per cent said they didn’t know. 

Keir Starmer refuses to attend World Cup in Qatar

The survey also asked the 2,030 adults if Labour leader, Keir Starmer, was right in wanting to boycott the tournament due to the country’s awful human rights record. In response a total of 69 per cent of respondents said he was right, while 12 per cent disagreed. 

In an interview with LBC Radio Starmer made clear Labour Party’s stance on the World Cup being held in Qatar, he said: “I’d love to but the human rights record is such I wouldn’t go. That would be the position of the Labour Party.”

It follows the UK foreign secretary James Cleverly, who intends to attend the tournament, urging football fans to be “respectful” of the host nation and “compromise”.

The poll found 44 per cent of respondents felt Cleverly was right to call on fans to be “respectful”, 34 per cent said he was wrong and 24 per cent were undecided. 

Stonewall chair Iain Anderson has since slammed Cleverly for asking LGBTQ+ people to “compromise” with Qatar ahead of the match.

The survey was conducted between 1 and 3 November by Public First for More in Common.

Luke Tryl, the UK director of More in Common network, said: “The British public clearly thinks that Qatar’s position on LGBT rights was a reason not to award the World Cup to that country… The clear message from the public to FIFA is that in picking future tournament venues, human rights considerations should be front and centre.”

The Football Association has also attempted to assure the public that the World Cup would be safe to attend for queer fans.

Qatar’s ambassador to the UK had said LGBTQ+ fans visiting the country can “hold hands” but should be “mindful” of “public displays of affection” at the World Cup.

The World Cup kicks off on 20 November with Qatar facing Ecuador. 

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