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Football director demands FIFA explain why homophobic Qatar is allowed to host World Cup

Rachel Badham June 13, 2022
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Oliver Bierhoff (Getty/Alexander Hassenstein)

German football director Oliver Bierhoff has condemned Qatar’s treatment of the LGBTQ+ community ahead of the 2022 World Cup.

FIFA’s decision to allow Qatar to host the World Cup has been met with widespread backlash over its human rights record. The country continues to punish same-sex relations by up to seven years imprisonment, while gay Muslim men, under Sharia law, can be punished with the death penalty.

Oliver Bierhoff, a former football player and national team director of the German Football Federation, is the latest sporting professional to speak out against Qatar’s barbaric treatment of LGBTQ+ people.

In conversation with German media group Funke, Bierhoff said that Qatar’s current laws regarding same-sex relations are “completely unacceptable”.

“It in no way corresponds to my views,” the 54-year-old said, according to Goal.

Bierhoff questioned why Qatar was chosen by FIFA to host the World Cup without addressing its discriminatory laws.

“What award criteria for a World Cup does FIFA actually apply? Because awarding a tournament is the sharpest sword to push for the necessary change.

“This has to happen before the award and not after, otherwise you have no leverage left to enforce it.”

Bierhoff added that “the award criteria must be closely linked to human rights issues”.

While FIFA has insisted that LGBTQ+ symbols will be allowed at the World Cup, security officials in Qatar have said that rainbow flags could be confiscated.

Major general Abdulaziz Abdullah Al Ansari, an official overseeing security, said LGBTQ+ flags were likely to be taken away from those displaying them.

Explaining what would happen if a spectator showed an LGBTQ+ symbol at the Qatar World Cup, Al Ansari said: “We realise that this [football fan] got the ticket, comes here to watch the game, not to demonstrate, a political [act] or something which is in his mind.

“Watch the game. That’s good. But don’t really come in and insult the whole society because of this.”

Al Ansari insisted that any LGBTQ+ flags would be confiscated to “protect” the football fans which they belong to. 

“Here we cannot change the laws. You cannot change the religion for 28 days of World Cup” he said. 

 

More: 2022 World Cup, Qatar

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