LGBTQ fans told to ‘compromise’ for Qatar World Cup by U.K. diplomat


British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said on Wednesday that LGBTQ fans should “be respectful” and show “flexibility and compromise” in Qatar for the upcoming men’s World Cup, sparking sharp criticism from British media, lawmakers and the prime minister’s office.

Cleverly, speaking on LBC radio station, he said that Qatar was making “some compromises in terms of what is, you know, an Islamic country with a very different set of cultural norms than ours”. In turn, he said, the fans should “be respectful of the host nation – they have to be, they try, to make sure that people can be themselves and enjoy football.”

“I think with a bit of flex and compromise on both ends, it can be a safe, secure and exciting World Cup,” he added.

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Critics said Cleverly, a member of the centre-right Conservatives and a supporter of same-sex marriage rights, was essentially asking LGBTQ fans to hide their identity in a country where homosexuality it is a crime. Consensual sex between men is prohibited by Qatari law, which does not explicitly prohibit sex between women, according to the US State Department. Sex between men carries a penalty of up to seven years in prison.

Qatar continues to mistreat LGBT people ahead of World Cup, rights group says

Gary Lineker, a former British national football star, he tweeted: “Whatever you do, don’t do anything Gay. Is that the message?”

“YOU’RE NOT GAY AT THE WORLD CUP,” read Thursday covered of Metro, a British tabloid.

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Lucy Powell, who speaks for the opposition Labor Party on sport and culture, called Cleverly’s comments “incredibly tone deaf”. She urged the government to challenge FIFA “as they have put the fans in this position” instead of “defending discriminatory values”.

Downing Street rebuked Cleverly’s comments, saying in a statement that people should not “compromise who they are,” according to the Associated Press.

But amid the criticism, Cleverly reiterated his stance, telling British broadcaster Sky News that “we have incredibly important partners in the Middle East” and that “it’s important, when you’re a visitor to a country, that you respect the culture of your country. host nation.”

When asked if he planned to participate in the World Cup, which lasts from November 20 to December 18, Cleverly said that he would because “it is an important international event” where other interlocutors will be. He also had to be there to protect British travellers, he said.

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Human Rights Watch said in a report on Monday that arbitrary arrests and abuse of LGBTQ people continued in Qatar as recently as last month.

The Gulf country’s treatment of disadvantaged groups, such as migrant workers, has come under heavy scrutiny since it was awarded the rights to host the tournament. Qatar’s leaders hit back at some of the criticism leveled against their country, saying the attacks were from “people who cannot accept the idea of ​​an Arab Muslim country hosting a tournament like and the World Cup”.

Andrew Jeong contributed to this report.


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