Certain hotels in Qatar are allegedly refusing to host same-sex couples travelling to the 2022 World Cup. A team of Norwegian, Swedish, and Danish reporters claims to have contacted 69 accommodation providers on FIFA’s official recommendation list, posing as a newly-wed gay couple to see if their booking would be accepted.
According to the investigators, three hotels – The Torch Doha, Magnum Hotel & Suites Westbay, and Wyndham Grand Regency, denied their reservation request, one of which said it would be against their policy to accommodate them. In twenty others, they were told that they could book, provided that they avoided any public displays of affection during their time there.
While 33 hotels on FIFA’s list accepted the phony gay couple’s reservation, it was concluded that a third of the establishments either refused or expressed concerns over the booking.
The journalists’ investigation reportedly began in March, but they did not specify a date for their accommodation request. “Among the hotels that have answered no, one has answered by email […] The other two have answered the phone,” writes NRK.
“In both cases where hotels have answered the phone, the person has conferred with colleagues/superiors before we have received an answer.”
According to the team, a representative from one hotel said: “I would like to inform you that we have previously had incidents where the police have picked up Qataris at the hotel who have had homosexual relationships.”
So @FIFAWorldCup is advising LGBT fans to book rooms in hotels that don't want us?? I thought #Qatar gave assurances that this would be a welcoming tournament?? So much for the beautiful game!!! #Qatar2022 https://t.co/5HDMJQcZPv
— Dean 🇮🇪🏳️🌈 (@DeanoD92) May 12, 2022
Following the publication of the findings by NRK, SVT, and DR, FIFA stated that the hotels “will once again be made aware of our strict requirements that all guests are welcome in a non-discriminatory manner”.
A spokesperson for the football governing body added: “Hotels, as well as any other service provider associated with the Fifa World Cup, who fail to comply with the high standards set by the organisers will have their contracts terminated.
“On top of that, the said requirements will continue to be reinforced in awareness-raising sessions and subsequently monitored and evaluated through audits and inspections of hotels linked to the Fifa World Cup,” they continued.
Qatar being permitted as the host for the 2022 World Cup has come with a lot of controversies due to the nation’s ongoing human rights issues. Homosexuality remains illegal in the country, punishable with fines, up to three years imprisonment, and/or the possibility of the death penalty for Muslims under sharia law. Despite this, FIFA president Gianni Infantino insists that “Everyone will see that everyone is welcome here in Qatar, even if we speak about LGBTQ+”.
Qatari authorities have also stated that they are “committed to delivering an inclusive FIFA World Cup experience that is welcoming, safe and accessible to all”.
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