The Qatar 2022 World Cup Organizing Committee confirmed that gay fans will not face any discrimination during their attendance at the tournament matches that will start next November.
network quotes”SBSThe Australian News, about the Executive Director of Communications at the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, Fatima Al-Nuaimi, said that Qatar has hosted about 600 international events since it was granted the rights to host the 2022 World Cup, without a single incident of discrimination.
“We constantly assure that everyone is welcome,” Al Nuaimi added, noting that “everyone will be able to attend and enjoy matches and support their teams, regardless of their background, religion or gender.”
Same-sex sexual activity is a criminal offense in Qatar and carries penalties of up to several years in prison and, in some cases, death.
More than one million people are expected to travel to Qatar to attend the FIFA World Cup this year.
But for the more than 500 members of the Australia Gay Supporters Association, making this trip is highly unlikely, after they also boycotted the last edition that was held in Russia in 2018.
The association’s president, James Cardal, told the network that it was “shameful” that the International Football Association (FIFA) granted the right to host the tournament for two consecutive editions in countries (Russia and Qatar) that have “poor and bad” views on LGBT people.
FIFA is confident that the promises made by Qatar will be kept and that fans will be free to fly gay rainbow flags during matches.
“We have received the necessary guarantees, we are training all officials and we are working alongside the government and the police in order to ensure that everyone will be welcome,” FIFA President Gianni Infantino said during his attendance at the economic forum that was held in Qatar in late June.
Nasser Al-Khoury, Director of Programs Department at the “Generation Dazzling” program emanating from the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy of Qatar, said that Qatar has been more advanced than its neighbors, but hopes that all visitors will respect Qatari culture and traditions.
Al-Khoury told SBS that the Qataris want to “show the world that they are a progressive country in the region,” noting that Qatar is “modernizing, but in our own way and sticking to our identity, culture and roots.”
FIFA had warned in May that it would cancel World Cup contracts with any hotel in Qatar or any service provider that discriminates against homosexuals.
The move came after investigations revealed that three hotels on the list, which FIFA granted its approval to host visitors in the World Cup, did not allow same-sex couples to receive couples.