FIFA has threatened the cancel the World Cup contracts of hotels in Qatar if they discriminate against gay people.
It comes after an investigation revealed that some hotels were refusing to allow same-sex couples to stay.
Homosexuality is illegal in Qatar and same-sex relationships can lead to criminal charges and a prison sentence of up to seven years, according to Amnesty International.
Qatar’s human rights record, including its treatment of the LGBTQ community, has been widely criticised since the country was awarded the right to host the World Cup, which gets underway in November.
FIFA president Gianni Infantino has insisted that “all are welcome” in the Gulf state and has urged LGBTQ football fans to attend the tournament.
However, an investigation – conducted jointly by NRK and SVT in Sweden and DR in Denmark – found that three hotels refused to accept a reservation from a gay couple, with one suggesting it would be against hotel policy to do so.
The investigation also found that 21 hotels had advised the couple to modify their behaviour to avoid public displays of affection, with one hotel insisting the guests should not ‘dress gay’ during their stay in Qatar.
While 33 hotels on the recommended list for the World Cup accepted a booking from the male couple, the investigation found one third did not or had concerns.
According to the Daily Mail, FIFA has held crisis talks with Qatari organisations after the investigation was published.
In a statement, FIFA pledged to “ensure that the hotels mentioned are once again made aware of our strict requirements in relation to welcoming guests in a non-discriminatory manner”.
“Hotels, as well as any other service provider associated with the FIFA World Cup, who fail to comply with the high standards set by the organisers will have their contracts terminated,” FIFA added in a statement to The Telegraph.
“On top of that, the said requirements will continue to be reinforced in awareness raising sessions and subsequently monitored and evaluated through audits and inspections of hotels linked to the FIFA World Cup.”
A Qatar 2022 spokesperson told the Daily Mail: “Everyone is welcome in Qatar, regardless of their race, background, religion, gender, sexual orientation or nationality.
“All fans should feel welcome to book accommodation with the knowledge that the private lives of individuals living or visiting Qatar are respected.
🗣 “Qatar is the safest country in the Middle East”
Nasser Al Khater says fans will feel safe in Qatar as long as they respect norms and cultures – after Gareth Southgate suggested some of England’s LGBTQ+ supporters would not travel for the World Cup.pic.twitter.com/sS6s14WH7Z
— Sky Sports (@SkySports) March 31, 2022
“Qatar is a conservative country and public displays of affection are frowned upon across the board – regardless of sexual orientation.
“We simply ask for people to respect our cultural norms, but also emphasise the strong culture of respect for individual privacy which exists throughout Qatar.”
England manager Gareth Southgate has previously said it is a “great shame” that some Three Lions supporters will not travel to Qatar for the World Cup.
Southgate added that no one in his squad is “complacent” about the issues surrounding the tournament.
However, his comments were criticised Qatar 2022 chief executive Nasser Al Khater, who warned Southgate to “pick his words carefully”.
“My question would be who from the England squad has been to Qatar? My question to the coach is has he been to Qatar?” Al Khater told Sky Sports News.
“Is he basing his opinions and his public statements on what he has read? Because it is kind of an issue when you just base an opinion on which you are very vocal about on things which you have read.
“Somebody with a lot of influence such as Southgate, somebody with a big audience that listens to what he has said has got to pick his words carefully.”
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