Qatar's World Cup 2022: LGBTQ+ Fans Are Allegedly "Welcome"?

For any football fan, the World Cup should be one of the highlights of the four-year cycle. Nothing beats the anticipation of a tournament that showcases the best of what our sport has to offer, followed by a four-week football carnival.
But in the case of the World Cup 2022, the festival is marred. This is a so-called celebration of football, yet not everybody is welcome. Since the moment the World Cup was awarded to Qatar 12 years ago. Controversy has followed FIFA over alleged corruption in the bidding process. Qatar's treatment of migrant workers, and in particular their anti-LGBTQ+ laws.

Qatar's World Cup 2022Source: The Guardian

“I’m a man and I love men. This is normal. “Football is for everyone,” Minden continued. “It doesn’t matter if you’re lesbian, if you’re gay, it’s for everyone. For the boys, for the girls, and everyone in between … The rule that football is for everyone is so important. We cannot allow you to break it no matter how rich you are. You are more than welcome to join the international football community and, also, of course, host a big tournament. But in sports, it is how it is. You have to accept the rules.”
Looking directly at Qatar’s ambassador to Germany, Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Saud al-Thani, in a room full of dignitaries and sponsors at a human rights conference in Frankfurt, hosted by the German Football Association, he said his impactful words. Sitting in the front row, the camera pans briefly to al-Thani and shows him looking at and listening to Minden.

Qatar's World Cup 2022Source: Out Tv

In Qatar, homosexuality is prohibited and punishable by up to three years in prison. A Human Rights Watch report published last month recorded examples of Qatari security personnel arbitrarily arresting LGBT persons and subjecting them to "ill-treatment in jail" as recently as September. A Qatar government official told CNN in a statement that the World Cup host was an inclusive country. “Everyone is welcome in Qatar,” the statement read.

Fans Remain Unconvinced Qatar Is Welcoming Everyone "Without Discrimination".

Qatar's World Cup 2022 LGBTQSource: My Khel

 "We are open and welcoming — hospitable. We understand the difference in people's beliefs and so I think, again, everybody will be welcome and everybody will be treated with respect". Al-Khater said in 2020.
As ticket windows opened and closed, though, some fans remained unconvinced. “Here is a country that is literally on record as saying, any other time, if you're gay, this is very very bad for you,” one American fan who ultimately decided not to attend told Yahoo Sports.

Qatar World Cup LGBT Supporters Decide To Split.

Qatar's World Cup 2022 LGBTQSource: Independent

For fans who’ve chosen to watch from home, their reasoning was part safety, part principle. Even if Qatar and FIFA could guarantee their safety, a few said, they didn’t want to support a World Cup in a country that doesn’t guarantee the safety of its LGBTQ citizens.
The U.S. Soccer Federation, for its part, has been “in consistent communication with the U.S. Embassy about all that we can do to ensure everyone enjoys a safe and welcoming World Cup”, a USSF spokesman said. Its events will feature rainbow flags and wall decals, including night-before parties. It is in the process of finalizing a “fan guide” that all who are traveling can access. And it has received the same assurances from FIFA and the Supreme Committee that everyone has, “that LGBTQ fans will feel welcome and safe during the tournament,” the spokesperson said.
The nearer we get to the kick-off of the opening match between Qatar and Ecuador on November 20, the louder the dissenting voices are becoming and the more visible the signs of support for LGBTQ issues.
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