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Gay fans are welcome at Qatar World Cup – just as long as they don’t have sex

Patrick Kelleher September 27, 2019
Gay fans are welcome at World Cup 2020, says Qatar - just as long as they don't have sex

KARIM JAAFAR/AFP/Getty

Gay fans will be welcome in Qatar, where homosexuality is illegal, for the 2022 FIFA World Cup – just so long as they don’t have sex.

Homosexuality is illegal in Qatar with those convicted facing up to seven years in prison. Furthermore, gay sex is illegal under Sharia law, meaning gay Muslims could face the death penalty – although there are no known cases where this has occurred.

But gay people can rest easy in Qatar for the 2022 World Cup. They just need to make sure they respect Qatari customs and don’t get too close to each other.

Public displays of affection are ‘frowned upon’ in Qatar.

Nasser al-Khater, chief executive of the World Cup Qatar 2022, said on Wednesday that he wants to “assure any fan, of any gender, [sexual] orientation, religion, race” that they will be safe and welcome in Qatar.

“The safety and security of every single fan is of the utmost importance to us,” Khater told AFP.

Public displays of affection is frowned upon, it’s not part of our culture – but that goes across the board to everybody.

“There’s a lot of training going into security personnel to make sure that things that are culturally different are seen in that frame.”

He continued: “Public displays of affection is frowned upon, it’s not part of our culture – but that goes across the board to everybody.”

Gay football fans have previously been told to ‘refrain’ from sex during the Qatar World Cup.

This is not the first time Qatar World Cup officials have spoken about the challenges facing gay fans who go to their country for the event.

In 2010, former FIFA president Sepp Blatter said gay fans should “refrain” from having sex during the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

When asked about concerns over the treatment of gay fans at the event, he laughed the question off and said: “I would say they should refrain from any sexual activities.”

In 2014, the Qatari sports minister Salah bin Ghanem bin Nasser al-Ali said they would find “creative” solutions to allow gay fans to attend the World Cup.

“We are studying all these issues,” he said. “We can adapt, we can be creative to have people coming and enjoying the games without losing the essence of our culture and respecting the preference of the people coming here.”

Censorship of LGBT+ issues is an ongoing reality in Qatar.

Last year, ABC News revealed that articles about LGBT+ rights were being censored in the international edition of The New York Times in Qatar. The spaces were left blank with a message saying the stories had been “exceptionally removed”.

Speaking at the time, Minky Worden of Human Rights Watch said he had filed a complaint about the censorship, and said it put Qatar in violation of its agreement with FIFA.

“As the next host of the World Cup, Qatar should be responsible for implementing FIFA’s human rights policies as an example to the participating countries,” he wrote.

Qatar has repeatedly proven that it is committed to its anti-LGBT+ stance. In 2016, the country banned film The Danish Girl because it is about a transgender woman.

More: anti lgbt, Anti-gay, FIFA, Gay, gay sex, LGBT, Qatar, Transgender, world cup

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