Global human rights group All Out have staged a powerful protest in the hopes to persuade Qatar to reverse the country’s anti-LGBTQ+ laws.
The protest is aimed to “make sure FIFA and Qatar know the world is watching and that citizens around the world expect action”.
Participants were seen standing outside the FIFA museum in Zurich kissing and playing football with a goal covered in rainbow flags.
The World Cup kicks off on November 20 this year and All Out has called out FIFA for not taking the necessary action to ensure the safety of its LGBTQ+ players, fans and Qatar’s queer community.
The protest comes directly after Khalid Salman, a Qatar World Cup ambassador, made anti-LGBTQ+ comments public.
Salman said that those travelling to the Gulf Nation for the event “have to accept our rules here”. The former Qatar international footballer added that “[Homosexuality] is haram,” and when asked why he explained: “I am not a strict Muslim but why is it haram? Because it is damage in the mind.”
In an email exchange between All Out and FIFA, the football organisation stated that “FIFA is confident that all necessary measures will be in place for LGBTIQ+ fans and allies to enjoy the tournament in a welcoming and safe environment, just as for everyone else.”
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They continued, “Qatar as a host country is fully committed to ensuring that everyone will be able to enjoy the tournament in a safe and welcoming environment, including members of the LGBTIQ+ community.”
FIFA has faced widespread criticism for its decision to grant tournament hosting rights to the country due to its ill-treatment of migrant workers and LGBTQ+ people. Homosexuality is illegal in Qatar and anyone who is convicted of same-sex activity can be punished with up to seven years in prison.
Earlier this week, Republic of Ireland Women’s National Team captain Katie McCabe confirmed that she will not be travelling to or watching the 2022 Qatar World Cup.
McCabe, who herself is a queer footballer, has urged competing nations in Qatar to stand in support of the LGBTQ+ community, and praised those who have already taken action.
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