The International Federation of Football Association (FIFA) has warned several Qatari hotels that their contracts to accommodate visitors for the World Cup starting in November will be terminated if they continue to refuse gay couples as guests.
The threat from the body chaired by Gianni Infantino was the result of an investigation published this week in which journalists contacted 69 hotels on FIFA’s official accommodation list saying they were a gay couple looking to stay during the World Cup, and found that three refused to accept reservations, while twenty establishments asked them to avoid public displays of affection, and 13 did not respond to their requests.
The report was published by the channels NRK from Norway, SVT from Sweden and DR from Denmark. The piece prompted FIFA to contact the Qatar 2022 organizing committee to let them know about acts of discrimination by the tournament’s official hotels.
“FIFA is confident that all necessary measures will be implemented for LGBT+ fans so that, like everyone else, they can feel welcome and safe during the tournaments”said world soccer’s governing body in response to the investigation aired by Scandinavian media.
For its part, the organizing committee said after the revelations that Qatar was a “conservative country” but was “committed to providing an inclusive FIFA World Cup experience that is welcoming, safe and accessible to all.”
He added, however, that would take action against hotels that do not comply with its anti-discrimination policies.
“More than 100 hotels in Qatar that will house football fans, players, officials and other key stakeholders will be required to comply with our code,” a spokesman for the committee told the Reuters news agency, saying the committee will deal with any instance of discrimination “with the utmost seriousness”.
“We would welcome further information on these allegations to ensure that any partner associated with the FIFA World Cup is not up to the expected standards.”
Homosexuality is illegal in Qatar, but FIFA and local authorities have previously insisted that “everyone is welcome” at the competition, although They asked same-sex couples not to display affection in public during the World Cup.
“In different countries, there is more leniency on public displays of affection. Qatar and the region are much more modest, and Qatar and the region are much more conservative. And this is what we ask the fans to respect. And we’re sure the fans will respect that. We respect different cultures and expect other cultures to respect ours”, Nasser Al Khater, head of the tournament’s organizing committee, said last year.
LGBT+ flags banned from Qatar 2022 stadiums
A few weeks ago, the organization of the World Cup had already shown signs of the hostility that awaits LGBT+ people in Qatar. In an interview with the AP agency, Abdulaziz Abdullah Al Ansari, one of those in charge of security for the tournament, reported that rainbow flags, which symbolize the LGBT+ community, would be banned from stadiums.
“If the fan waves a rainbow flag and I take it off, it is not because I really want it, that I really want to take it off and insult him, but rather to protect him. Because I don’t, but someone else nearby could assault him,” he said.
And he added: “I cannot guarantee the behavior of all people. So I’ll tell you: ‘Please, there’s no need to really wave that flag right now.’”
The rainbow flag, a universal symbol of LGBT+ pride, was created in 1978 by the American designer Gilbert Baker at the request – shortly before his assassination – of the activist Harvey Milk, the first openly gay American official.
The first rainbow flag was unveiled on Gay Liberation Day in San Francisco in June 1978, but its status as a universal symbol began to be established after the appearance of a mile-long version of the flag in the Stonewall 25th anniversary parade. , in 1994, after the image toured the world.