Fans are welcome so long as they respect Qatari traditions.
Despite homosexuality being illegal in Qatar, officials have claimed that the country is safe for LGBTQ fans and players to come and visit during the World Cup. However, they emphasised how LGBTQ fans would need to respect Qatari laws.
In a press conference, Nassar al-Khater, the chief executive of the FIFA 2022 World Cup in Qatar, said: “I would like to assure any fan, of any gender, (sexual) orientation, religion, race to rest assured that Qatar is one of the most safe countries in the world — and they’ll all be welcome here.”
He added: “The safety and security of every single fan is of the utmost importance to us. There’s a lot of training going into security personnel to make sure that things that are culturally different are seen in that frame.”
The official also mentioned: “Public displays of affection is frowned upon, it’s not part of our culture – but that goes across the board to everybody.”
Nassar was answering a question about transgender fans who wished to visit the country during the tournament. Laws around transgender people in the country are unclear, and rarely addressed.
Homosexuality is illegal in Qatar, and punishable with a jail sentence of up to seven years. The country also runs Sharia courts, where the punishment for Muslim men engaging in same-sex activity could be the death penalty. It’s worth pointing out, however, that there has been no recorded occurrence of this happening.
The FIFA World Cup was held in Russia last year. LGBTQ fans were warned against holding hands, and publicly displaying their sexuality. Trans people were warned to either bring someone to the toilets with them, or use disabled ones.
And Joe White, the campaign leader for Pride in Football, received a letter warning LGBTQ fans that they would be hunted down and stabbed. One gay French football and his partner were attacked and robbed during the tournament.
One of them, O. Davrius, was left with severe injuries including a fractured jaw, brain contusion and an open craniocerebral injury. Telegram channel Operdrain – who first reported the news – said: “Even though the injured are homosexuals, it does not justify the monsters who beat him.”