LGBTIQ+ organizations working with Fifa on the Qatar World Cup in 2022 have stated that “progress has been slow” and that “issues of concern” remain.
Reassurances about the safety of LGBTIQ+ people in the host country “have not been adequate,” according to the 16 groups.
They added that if safety assurances cannot be provided, they will have to question whether the risk to LGBTIQ+ people who want to attend is too great.
They also stated that Fifa had shown “a high level of cooperation.”
The tournament’s decision to be held in Qatar, where homosexuality is illegal, has been heavily criticized.
The international coalition of groups representing LGBTIQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer, or questioning) fans has presented Fifa and the Qatari authorities with eight action points on LGBTIQ+ rights that they want to see implemented before the tournament begins on November 21.
These measures include repealing laws and regulations that discriminate against LGBTIQ+ people and providing protection from harassment and arrest.
They have also advocated for appropriate training in dealing with the LGBTIQ+ community, as well as continued efforts to ensure the long-term safety of LGBTIQ+ people in the region.
“Progress has been slow, reassurances about the safety of LGBTIQ+ people have been inadequate, and the mechanisms in place to ensure safety have been inadequate,” the organizations said.
“If we cannot offer acknowledgement of the issues confronting LGBTIQ+ people in Qatar, as well as assurances of safety, we will be forced to question whether the risk confronting LGBTIQ+ people wishing to attend or work at the World Cup in Qatar is too great.”
They added that additional meetings with Fifa and Qatar’s supreme committee for tournament organization are planned in the coming weeks “where it is hoped progress can be made.”
The following are their requested actions:
- Repeal laws or regulations that target LGBTIQ+ people.
- Provide explicit safety guarantees for LGBTIQ+ people against harassment, arrest or detention.
- Guarantee the right of entry to Qatar for LGBTIQ+ persons planning to attend the 2022 World Cup, as well as freedom of expression for all people in the country, inside and outside stadiums.
- Provide appropriate training in dealing with the LGBTIQ+ community.
- Ensure adequate facilities in stadiums for LGBTIQ+ persons.
- Fifa and the supreme committee communicate a clear welcome to Qatar for LGBTIQ+ persons planning to attend the 2022 World Cup, as well as freedom of expression for all people in the country, inside and outside stadiums.
- Ensure that there is no censorship or ban on discussion of LGBTIQ+ issues in the local and international media or in broadcasting.
- Work with stakeholders from the international and regional LGBTIQ+ community to ensure the long-term safety of LGBTIQ+ persons in the region.
Why is the 22 Qatar World Cup so contentious?
In November 2021, Fatma Al-Nuaimi, communications executive director of Qatar’s supreme committee, told BBC Sport that “everyone will be welcome” at the 2022 World Cup.
The tournament’s controversial awarding to Qatar, on the other hand, has focused attention squarely on the host country’s human rights record.
The country has strict anti-LGBTIQ+ laws, and women’s rights are also a source of contention.
Qatar’s treatment of the 30,000 migrant workers building the tournament’s infrastructure has also been criticized.
The Guardian reported in February 2021 that 6,500 migrant workers from India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka had died in Qatar since the country won the World Cup bid – a figure Qatar disputes.
The initial decision to award the tournament to Qatar sparked allegations that Fifa officials had been bribed, despite the fact that an independent investigation commissioned by Fifa found no hard evidence of this.
According to Netherlands manager Louis van Gaal, holding the event in the Middle Eastern country was motivated by “money” and “commercial interests.”
Meanwhile, England manager Gareth Southgate has stated that it would be “a great shame” if some England fans felt unable to attend the World Cup due to safety concerns, given the rights of women and the LGBTQ+ community in Qatar.