Qatari authorities have failed to assure the safety of LGBTQ fans travelling for the upcoming World Cup, thus provoking many human rights groups to discourage the fans from queer community to attend the event. Homosexuality is strictly prohibited in Qatar, with a provision for a prison sentence of a minimum of three years.

The Guardian sent a series of questions to the Supreme Committee, related to the safety and concerns of LGBTQ fans. But the response from the organisers was far from convincing. They came up with a generic statement of welcoming everyone regardless of their identity, but didn’t answer whether the articles of the Qatar Penal Code which outlaw homosexuality will be abolished or not. 

“We believe in mutual respect and so whilst everyone is welcome, what we expect in return is for everyone to respect our culture and traditions,” read the reply. 

As per a recent survey, only 33 out of the 69 recommended hotels will allow same-sex couples. FIFA has issued a strict warning to Qatari hotels to welcome guests in a non-discriminatory manner. 

Members of Rainbow Wall, the official LGBTQ+ supporters for Wales, have vowed not to attend the event due to the nation’s stance on gay rights. 

LGBTIQ Human Rights Sports Coalition are in talks with Qatari authorities for more than a year now, but they are yet to receive safety guarantees. Similarly, Lou Englefield, a member of Football vs Homophobia, stated the hosts are not following the directions issued by FIFA. 

“I know of no European LGBTIQ supporters’ group, or individual supporters, who are currently planning to attend this World Cup. The position of the Supreme Committee is just not in keeping with the undertakings they must have given to Fifa,” said Englefield. 

Almost 2 million tickets have already been sold for the marquee event, set to get underway in November this year, but there’s no clarity over how LGBTQ fans will be treated in Qatar. 

Featured Image Credit: Euro 2020