Despite widespread criticism, Qatar will host the World Cup in 2022. (Image courtesy of Christopher Pike/Getty Images for the Supreme Committee 2022.)
Football fans in Qatar for the FIFA World Cup have been urged to use “common sense.”
Despite widespread condemnation of Qatar’s human rights violations, including persecution of LGBTQ+ people, the 2022 World Cup will be held in the country this November and December.
In Qatar, homosexuality is illegal. Being found guilty of same-sex relationships can result in a seven-year prison sentence under the country’s penal code, and men found to have engaged in same-sex intimacy can technically be sentenced to death under Sharia law.
Despite this, Noel Mooney, chief executive of the Football Association of Wales, told The Mirror that he has been assured that LGBTQ+ fans will be welcomed at the World Cup.
He did, however, ask fans to refrain from “provocation.”
“We have a very strong LGBTQ community among our supporters, and I’m sure a good number of them are traveling,” he said.
“We were told there would be tolerance, but even as a heterosexual couple, they don’t engage in public affection on the streets.”
“Where to watch is provocation,” Mooney added. If you’re going to a mosque and running around with a rainbow flag, that’s when we ask people to use common sense.
“We’ll be visiting a different country with a different culture.” When people visit our culture, they see things in ours that they will not like, so we encourage them to use common sense first and foremost, as well as to be tolerant and mindful of their own culture. When you go on vacation to another country, you think about their culture and act in a certain way to show respect for it,” he explained.
Mooney stated that discussions with organizers are ongoing and that he has been told that “everyone is very welcome and it will be an inclusive World Cup.”
Fans have petitioned for a boycott of Qatar. (Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images) )
Since Qatar was chosen to host the World Cup in 2010, FIFA has faced criticism for its ban on same-sex relationships, human rights violations, treatment of women, and exploitation of migrant communities.
After coming out in 2021, gay footballer Josh Cavallo spoke out against Qatar hosting the tournament. He stated that if called up, he would be “scared.”
“I read somewhere that [Qatar] gives the death penalty for gay people in Qatar, so it’s something I’m very scared of and wouldn’t really want to go to Qatar for,” Cavallo said on The Guardian’s Today in Focus podcast.
“And that makes me sad.” At the end of the day, the World Cup is in Qatar and one of the greatest achievements as a professional footballer is to play for your country. “And to know that this is in a country that doesn’t support gay people and puts us at risk of our own life, that does scare me and makes me re-evaluate – is my life more important than doing something really good in my career?”
Cavallo was personally reassured by Nasser Al Khater, the tournament’s chief executive in Qatar, who told CNN that he should not be concerned.
“We welcome him here in Qatar, and we welcome him to come and see us even before the World Cup,” he said.
According to Human Rights Watch, the emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, stated in May that Qatar “welcome[s] everyone, but we also expect and want people to respect our culture.”