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Gay Football Fans Could Legally Be Punished By Death For Having Sex At Qatar World Cup

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Gay Football Fans Could Legally Be Punished By Death For Having Sex At Qatar World Cup

Gay football fans who travel to Qatar to watch the World Cup later this year risk facing punishments as serious as the death penalty if caught having sex.

Gay Times reports that Qatari officials have promised that fans of all sexualities are welcome to attend the World Cup as long as they respect local traditions, which means no public displays of affection.

However, it is illegal to be homosexual in Qatar and carries with it a punishment of up to seven years in prison for non-Muslims.

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The same punishment is also applied to couples of any sexuality who are caught having sex outside of marriage, meaning one night stands are off the table for the Qatar World Cup.

Qatar also operates Sharia Law courts where the punishment for Muslim men engaging in same-sex activity can be as severe as death.

Homosexuality is illegal in Qatar and could result in a prison sentence, for Muslims it could end up in death. Credit: Alamy
Homosexuality is illegal in Qatar and could result in a prison sentence, for Muslims it could end up in death. Credit: Alamy

While the advice to gay fans who travel to Qatar to watch the World Cup is to keep their relationship behind closed doors, Reuters reports that some hotels are not letting same-sex couples book rooms.

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FIFA have created a list of recommended hotels they believe football fans traveling to Qatar to attend the World Cup could stay at, but at least three on that list intend to turn away same-sex couples.

The advice from Qatari officials for gay fans visiting for the World Cup to keep their sexuality hidden from the public appears to extend to flying the rainbow flag too.

While officials initially said they would stick to FIFA's inclusion policy and not restrict pro-LGBT symbols such as the rainbow flag, AP now reports that flags could be confiscated from fans.

Qatari Major General Abdulaziz Abdullah Al Ansari insisted gay football fans would be welcomed into the country for the World Cup, but warned people pro-LGBT symbols could be seized and claimed it was for the protection of fans carrying them.

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He said he 'cannot guarantee the behaviour of the whole people' of Qatar, meaning somebody 'might attack' a fan if they believe them to be gay.

The 80,000 seater Lusail stadium will host the 2022 World Cup final in Qatar. Credit: Alamy
The 80,000 seater Lusail stadium will host the 2022 World Cup final in Qatar. Credit: Alamy

Earlier this year England manager Gareth Southgate said he was unhappy that some football fans would not feel safe going to Qatar for the World Cup due to human rights issues in the country.

Qatar has a poor record on gay rights and women's rights, and Southgate described it as a 'great shame' that some fans might not feel safe traveling there.

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Openly gay Australian footballer Josh Cavallo previously said he would be 'scared' to play at the World Cup in Qatar, with officials insisting he would be welcomed and made to feel safe.

There have been hopes that by hosting the World Cup in Qatar it would get the ball rolling on addressing the nation's human rights issues but it seems unlikely that much will change outside of the tournament.

The 2022 World Cup kicks off on 21 November, while the final is scheduled for 18 December, the tournament is being played during the Winter as summer weather in Qatar would be too hot.

If you’ve been affected by any of these issues and want to speak to someone in confidence, contact the LGBT Foundation on 0345 3 30 30 30, 10am–6pm Monday to Friday, or email [email protected] 

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: News, Football, LGBTQ

Joe Harker
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