Just a few days before the start of the World Cup, one of the Qatari FIFA ambassadors has said that being Gay is "damage in the mind".

The FIFA championships kick off on Sunday 20 November but have been beset with controversy over the suffering of migrant workers engaged to build the competition facilities and the criminalisation of LGBTQ+ people in the host country Qatar. The penal code in Qatar continues to punish same-sex relationships with up to seven years imprisonment, while queer Muslim men under Sharia law, can be punished with the death penalty.

Now a FIFA World Cup ambassador has claimed homosexuality is "damage in the mind", reaffirming major concerns about the anti-LGBTQ+ Gulf state hosting the major event, and the safety of queer fans who may be attending. In an interview filmed in the country’s capital Doha with a German TV Channel, the former Qatari international footballer Khalid Salman made a shocking statement on the issue of homosexuality being illegal in his country.

In the interview, Salman said: “They have to accept our rules out here. [Homosexuality] is haram. You know what haram means?" [Haram means forbidden] The german interviewer then went on to ask why it is haram and the FIFA Ambassador responded: "I am not a strict Muslim but why is it haram? Because it is damage in the mind." Within seconds a FIFA accompanying official jumps in and shuts down the interview inviting everyone to take a walk.

All along the Qatari authorities have said that anyone visiting the country for the tournament will have to behave according to its rules, customs and laws. Visitors will need to wear covered apparel and decent attire, so neither men nor women will be able to wear shorts or polo shirts. Alcohol will only be served in select areas.

FIFA has consistently reassured LGBTQ+ fans they will be safe to visit the country. FIFA have urged players to "focus on the football", whereas some former players, commentators and journalists have made statements condemning the decision to host the 2022 tournament in the country.

Now even the man responsible, former President of FIFA Sepp Blatter, who has been banned from the game as a result of the corruption case made public some years ago, admits it was a mistake to host the championships in Qatar.

Jay is an England fan not going to Qatar.
The Football Association of Wales is considering creating some safe houses for both women and LGBTQ+ supporters who visit Qatar for the World Cup, simply because of concerns around the country’s human rights record. Spokesperson Jason Webber said,"We’ve put many questions to the Supreme Committee and the Qatari Government."

"They are very firm on this stance that everyone is welcome and safe, however we can’t guarantee that as a national association. There are discussions ongoing for having almost a safe house area for women or those in the LGBTQ+ community, but it’s just providing as much information as possible for those fans who are travelling."

Officials from the Football Association of Wales recently confirmed that their players will be free to speak out about any issues that concern them during the World Cup. Football's governing body FIFA however, has told players "don’t hand out moral lessons" while they are in Qatar.

Jason Webber from the Football Association of Wales went on to say, "We had a briefing with players after the last game with Poland and they were told they will have a forum to speak on any topic they want during press conferences. Some might choose to say something during press conferences, others won’t, it’s up to them."

Football legend Gary Lineker slammed the current UK Foreign Secretary for telling LGBT football fans to be "respectful" of World Cup hosts Qatar.

Gary hit out after Tory boy James Cleverly urged supporters to show “a little bit of flex and compromise” in the Muslim country, where being homosexual is illegal. Gary mocked, "So whatever you do, don’t do anything gay. Is that the message?"

Jamie's another fan who's not going to Qatar.
Qatar is expected to see more than one million visitors arrive for the World Cup in time for the start on Sunday 20 November and the first match between the host nation and Ecuador.

Forecasts indicate that Qatar's economy will grow by 3.4 percent in 2022 and 2023, thanks to the World Cup boost. The CEO of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, Nasser Al Khater, has said the profit from the World Cup is expected to be around $17bn. He said the cost of infrastructure and construction expenses for the World Cup has reached $8bn, which is relatively close to the cost of previous World Cups.

It's not just gay rights which are an issue in Qatar. Migrant workers continue to face sometimes insurmountable bureaucratic barriers and requirements when seeking to change jobs without the permission of their employers, even though permission was no longer a legal requirement.

The laws enable abusive employers to cancel residency permits or file cases accusing their employee of absconding, thereby jeopardizing migrant workers’ legal presence in the country.

Women face discrimination in the country under the guardianship system, as they remain tied to a male guardian from whom they must seek permission for all their key life decisions. Women visiting Qatar will have to wear clothes that cover their shoulders, upper arms and knees.

Carl's also a football fan not going to Qatar.
OutUK was to have featured aspects of the World Cup on this website - as we have done in previous championships. This year we are not. We do not believe that the oxygen of publicity should be afforded to FIFA and this year's World Cup as a result of Qatar's stance against gay rights and gay lifestyles, as well as their treatment of migrant workers and their continuing descrimination towards women.

We do not believe that FIFA should have awarded the 2022 World Cup to Qatar and we are therefore boycotting the tournament.


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