A vast majority of the British public has admitted that the World Cup shouldn’t be held in Qatar due to its anti-LGBTQ+ laws.
On 20 November, the highly-anticipated football tournament is set to take place in the Gulf region.
Since the news was announced in 2010, fans, activists and football professionals have expressed concerns over the World Cup’s location due to the country’s treatment of the LGBTQ+ community.
In Qatar, homosexuality is illegal and can be punished by penalties including flogging, imprisonment and even execution.
With the tournament right around the corner, More in Common UK surveyed 2,300 adults from different backgrounds about their thoughts on the upcoming event in the gulf region.
According to the survey, around 62% of British people said the country’s stance on LGBTQ+ rights should be enough to ban it from hosting the World Cup.
However, 24% said Qatar’s laws should not affect its standing as the tournament’s host, with 14% saying they were unsure.
In addition to the aforementioned information, 43% of Britons agree that the England and Wales football teams are right to play in the tournament, with 39% disagreeing and 18% unsure about their participation.
Lastly, the surveyed individuals also shared their opinions regarding political figures Keir Starmer and James Cleverly, who recently shared different opinions about the World Cup.
On 24 October, Starmer revealed to LBC Radio that he wouldn’t be attending the sporting event, stating: “I’d love to, but the human rights record is such I wouldn’t go. That would be the position of the Labour Party.”
When asked about the Labour leader’s boycott, 69% agreed with his stance, and 12% disagreed.
Two days after Starmer’s comments, Cleverly urged the tournament’s LGBTQ+ attendees to “respect” and “make some compromise” during his own interview with LBC.
“One of the things I would say for football fans is, you know, please do be respectful of the host nation,” he said.
In response to Cleverly’s comments, 44% of the people surveyed said that the UK Foreign minister was right in asking LGBTQ+ fans to be “respectful.”
However, 34% disagreed with his comments, and 24% were undecided.
“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,” said Luke Tryl, the UK director of More in Common.
The survey comes a few weeks after Human Rights Watch reported that LGBTQ+ people in Qatar were detained and subjected to “ill-treatment” as recently as September.
The organisation also said there were at least six cases of “severe and repeated beatings” as well as five incidences of “sexual harassment in police custody between 2019 and 2022.”
The 2022 FIFA World Cup is set to take place between 20 November and 18 December.