FIFA Clarifies Crazy LGBTQ+ Rule During 2022 Qatar World Cup

The Middle Eastern country had insisted that it would punish anyone found to be engaging in any form of sexual misconduct

FIFA Clarifies Crazy LGBTQ+ Rule During 2022 Qatar World Cup
An LGBTQ+ flag at a football stadium. /ESPN

World football governing body, FIFA, has cleared the air on heated discussions surrounding the non-LGBTQ+ policy during the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

With less than three days to the start of the tournament, the Middle Eastern country had insisted that it would punish anyone found to be engaging in any form of sexual misconduct during the highly-anticipated football tournament.

Josh Cavallo, Australia's first active male professional footballer to come out as gay, stated that a country's view of the rights of the LGBTQ+ should be considered before awarding hosting rights to a particular country for any major sporting event.

"I vow to stand up for the LGBTQ athletes and the fans at the World Cup in Qatar, who can't live openly, authentically. Qatar, FIFA, the world is watching. Do you see us?

The official ball for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar. /AL JAZEERA

"I urge sports leaders to consider our rights, and our safety while choosing host countries for World Cups and other competitions. We must do better. I take this honour and duty and promise to rise to that challenge." Said Josh Cavallo.

Nasser Al Khater who is the chief executive of the 2022 World Cup, assured that LGBTQ+ fans who will be present for the World Cup need not worry as he said that Qatar was a tolerant nation.

He added that it would be up to FIFA to decide on football team captains wearing special armbands in support of the community, but warned against teams spreading political messages.

"Gay fans will be welcome to display affection and rainbow flags as opposed to what the Qatari government had already communicated earlier on. FIFA will have to decide on captains wearing "One Love" armbands while cautioning against "political messages" by teams," he said.

Al Khater also clarified that special areas will be created for drunken supporters to sober up contrary to what had been announced earlier that there will be specific drinking shop outlets and that the alcohol would be regulated.

The U.S. Soccer Federation used a rainbow version of its crest at the Americans’ World Cup training facility in Doha, Qatar. The federation which normally uses a crest with blue lettering and red stripes changed the stripes to seven different colours at the Al Gharrafa training facility as part of the Be the Change initiative of the USSF and its players, which also called for tougher U.S. gun laws.

“When we are on the world stage and we are in a venue like Qatar, it’s important to already bring awareness to these issues,” U.S. coach Gregg Berhalter said on Monday, November 14.

“And that’s what Be the Change is about, it’s not just stateside that we want to bring attention to social issues, it’s also abroad. And we recognize that Qatar has made strides, there has been a ton of progress, but there’s still some work to do. And it’s just about Be the Change basically represents everyone’s individual opportunity to make a change or to have change start with them. So I think it’s appropriate that we have it here, as well.”

Qatar has been criticized over attitudes towards LGBTQ fans and the treatment of migrant workers. 

It is for instance known for strict laws against homosexuality and members of the LGBTQI+ community. Anybody found guilty of “leading, instigating or seducing a male by in any way to commit sodomy” can legally face the death penalty, but more likely is a jail sentence or deportation.

Another rule that raised eyebrows ahead of the tournament is Qatar's directive against sexual intercourse outside marriage; in other terms, this is a crime. It was viewed as one of the biggest deterrents for men attending a grand tournament proven to attract beautiful women, as has been the case in previous World Cup tournaments.

It was previously reported that fans who will be travelling to Qatar as a pair and are not married will be forced to abstain from any intimate activity until they leave the country following the conclusion of this year's World Cup.

Any form of public intimacy, such as kissing, whether heterosexual or homosexual, can lead to arrest in Qatar, according to some reports. Fans are also advised against shaking hands with Qatari women; a gesture that can be interpreted as disrespectful.

A woman at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia. /FILE