2022 World Cup: LGBT activist Peter Tatchell urges captains to speak out in Qatar


Tatchell said he was “arrested and cornered” in Doha after the solo protest

British LGBT rights campaigner Peter Tatchell has called on team captains to “spend 30 seconds” after each 2022 World Cup match to talk about Qatar’s human rights record.

It comes after Australia gave a statement Criticizing Qatar’s treatment of migrant workers and LGBTQ+ people.

Tatchell, who was he stopped protesting in Doha on Tuesday, said: “Australian football stars are leading the way.

“They have established the gold standard.”

The 70-year-old activist added: “I hope that all other national teams will follow suit and that all team captains will spend 30 seconds in each post-match press conference to reaffirm their commitment to LGBT, women’s and migrant rights. Staff.

“That would be a wonderful and great thing, and I know the Qatari people would appreciate it very much, often privately and secretly hoping for a more democratic government and respect for human rights.”

Qatar’s decision to host the World Cup in a country where homosexuality is punishable by death has been heavily criticized since FIFA made the announcement in 2010.

Tatchell told BBC Radio 5 Live that the World Cup “is something that should go to nations that respect rights and don’t discriminate”.

The founder of Liverpool’s LGBT+ support group Kop Outs, Paul Amann, said he did not know “a single, gay football fan” who wants to attend the World Cup in Qatar.

“Hundreds of other LGBT+ football fans have told me that no one is interested in going and that all the different teams are reporting the same issues, that people don’t want to go because it’s not a place where LBGT+ people are welcome.” he said

Amann and her husband were invited by the 2022 World Cup organizers to visit in 2019, a visit she describes as “amazing and terrifying”.

“Going to a country that has the death penalty for being gay on the state book, it wasn’t an easy thing to think about for the first time,” Amann said.

“We went with the intention of encouraging that country and leadership, being the World Cup, to really push things forward to make sure it could be a World Cup for everyone.

“They made several promises ‘yes, everyone is welcome’ and then what they have done is to prove that everyone will not be welcome because they have continued to oppress LGBT+ people in their country.”

‘We don’t discriminate’

On Wednesday, UK Foreign Secretary James Cleverly told LBC that LGBT football fans attending the tournament in Qatar should show up. “a little flexibility and commitment” To have “respect for the host nation”.

His comments were criticized by the Labor Party as “incredibly tone-deaf” and Conservative party leader Nadhim Zahawi contradicted Cleverly, saying LGBTQ+ football fans were traveling to next month’s World Cup in Qatar. he should not compromiseexternal link about their sexuality.

Responding to Cleverly’s comments, Qatar’s ambassador to the UK, Fahad bin Mohammed Al-Attiyah, said: “We are doing everything we can to make the tournament safe and secure for all fans.

“We are not asking anyone to change who they are, all we are saying is that you respect others in life to respect your values ​​and norms in cultures.

“We do not discriminate, no one will be asked to prove their gender or sexuality.

“I would say we are a welcoming country with open hearts and open arms to welcome friends, colleagues and people from England and Wales. They should come and support their team, have a great time, feel safe and experience the host country’s culture.”

Harry Kane from England wearing the One Love LGBT armband
Players from nine European countries, including England, will wear ‘One Love’ armbands to protest Qatar’s same-sex laws.

Earlier this week, the Tatchell campaign led a one-man protest in the host nation, holding a sign reading “Qatar arrests, jails and converts subjects to LGBT”, with the hashtag “#QatarAntiGay”.

Al-Attiyah called Qatar an “open international society” and said no one has been persecuted because of their gender identity.

“I would say that holding hands is completely allowed in any culture, including ours. Holding hands is not a problem at all,” he said.

“But there are certain interpretations of what would be a display of affection, which may be different in another country in a certain country. So I think the norms and culture of Qatari society should be taken into account in that regard.”

“It’s not a perfect country”

A videoexternal link Released by Australia, which includes 16 players, it called for an “effective remedy” for migrant workers and the decriminalization of same-sex relationships.

In response, a spokesperson for Qatar’s Supreme Commission for Submission and Legacy (SC) said: ”We commend the footballers for using their platforms to raise awareness about important issues.

“We are committed to making every effort to ensure that this World Cup has a transformative impact on improving lives, especially for those involved in building the competition and non-competition arenas we care about.”

Human rights groups have denounced the treatment of foreign workers in Qatar, and the number of deaths there.

In February 2021, the Guardian reported that 6,500 migrant workers from India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka had died since Qatar won its World Cup bid.

However, the Qatari government said the total was misleading because not all recorded deaths were of people working on World Cup-related projects.

The SC spokesperson added: “Protecting the health, safety, security and dignity of all workers contributing to this World Cup is our priority.

“It’s not a perfect country, and every country – host of major events or not – has its own challenges.”

The 2022 World Cup kicks off in Qatar on November 20.