Qatar 2022 Working Group on LGBTQ+ inclusion at World Cup convened by Kick It Out

Sports Media LGBT+ joins English football’s leading anti-discrimination organisation plus Stonewall, Football v Homophobia and Football Supporters’ Association to explore challenges facing LGBTQ+ people who will travel to World Cup in Qatar, and ongoing experiences of Qataris who are lesbian, gay, bi and trans…

By our Network team

Kick It Out has announced the formation of a Qatar 2022 Working Group – a coalition of UK organisations, which includes Stonewall, the Football Supporters’ Association, Football v Homophobia, and Sports Media LGBT+.

The Group will explore some of the key issues surrounding Qatar 2022, with a particular focus on LGBTQ+ inclusion.

Qatar will become the first country in the Middle East to host the FIFA World Cup, but the nation continues to criminalise being LGBTQ+.

Sexual acts between people of the same sex are illegal and trans people cannot change their legal gender.

Punishments go all the way up to a decade in prison. Homosexual acts can technically result in execution, although human rights organisations are yet to find any evidence of a gay person being executed for the offence.

This is the reality of life for LGBTQ+ Qataris, but there is obviously also a risk to LGBTQ+ fans and players who may wish to travel to Qatar for the tournament.

A 2021 ‘danger index’, created as a guide for LGBTQ+ travellers, rated Qatar as the eighth most dangerous place to travel for queer people.

With this in mind, the objectives of the Qatar 2022 Working Group are:

  • Preparing for a safe and inclusive 2022 Qatar World Cup for LGBTQ+ supporters: Urging FIFA and tournament organisers to take the necessary steps that ensure the protection and inclusion of fans at the tournament
  • Creating a positive legacy for LGBTQ+ Qataris: Using the tournament as a platform for the advancement and amplification of LGBTQ+ rights in Qatar
  • Creating an LGBTQ+ voice within sports leadership to inform key decisions around future events: Making sure the rights and considerations of the LGBTQ+ community are incorporated into decisions regarding future tournaments and events

Chris Paouros, chair of the Kick It Out Qatar 2022 Working Group, said: “Kick it Out is committed to supporting football in becoming a game where everyone belongs.

“Holding the world’s biggest sporting and football event in a country where LGBTQ+ people are criminalised is a challenging concept for us both as a football charity and as an organisation which has built a reputation around fighting for inclusion.

“Alongside the other inspirational organisations in the newly formed Qatar 2022 Working Group, we hope to drive inclusion and security for fans at next year’s tournament, as well as creating a lasting impact for the rights LGBTQ+ people in Qatar, and on the decision making process for future tournaments.”

Do you have questions or concerns related to the World Cup in Qatar and LGBTQ+ inclusion? Contact us and we will consider them as part of our Working Group discussions.

Sports Media LGBT+ is a network, advocacy, and consultancy group that is helping to build a community of LGBT+ people and allies in sport. We’re also a digital publisher. Learn more about us here.

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