Human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell has called on FIFA to cancel the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, as it was revealed that Gulf Cooperative Countries introduced new rules to “detect” and ban gay people from entering the country.
Mr Tatchell said the new rules, announced earlier this week, “will mean that gay players and spectators will be banned from attending the football world cup.”
Responding to the claims from the director of public health at Kuwait’s health ministry Yousuf Mindkar, Mr Tatchell questioned how the clinical tests would discover whether a visitor was gay or not.
“There is no known medical test to detect homosexuality,” said Tatchell. “I wonder what quackery the Kuwaiti authorities plan to invent in their vain attempt to identify gay men. It simply won’t work.
“Banning gay people from entering the country will deter foreign investors and companies. They won’t want to subject their employees to such barbaric, medieval humiliations,” he said.
The IBTimes reported that FIFA had said it “is not aware of the specific matter”, of the proposed legislation.
“FIFA through the work carried out by its various Standing Committees is actively engaged in fighting against all kinds of discrimination within football and within society as a whole,” it said.
“FIFA’s zero tolerance policy towards any acts of racism and discrimination affecting the freedom of private persons – including their sexual and political freedom – applies to the FIFA World Cup and to all other FIFA events and activities.”
Mr Tatchell responded to FIFA’s statement to say: “FIFA has its head in the sand – of Qatar. It is pretending that this new repressive, homophobic threat doesn’t exist. FIFA is all fine words but no serious action against homophobia. Is FIFA saying that the plan to test all visitors for homosexuality and exclude those who can be identified is untrue? Has it bothered to contact the Kuwaiti and Qatari authorities? It seems not.”
It is illegal to be gay in all of the GCC member countries. These include Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
There were calls for a probe into possible corruption at the international football governing body and some media outlets pointed to two countries’ riches in oil and gold.
Russia’s win came on the same day it was denounced by leaked diplomatic cables for being a “corrupt autocracy”.
The 2022 World Cup is costing Qatar more than $220bn (£140 billion) to host, and FIFA’s executive committee is to meet in October to make a decision on possibly moving the tournament to winter, as 50 degree heat threatens the safety of players and fans.
Last month former English FA chairman David Bernstein said Qatar should be forced to rebid for the event.