Josh Cavallo, Australia’s first openly gay professional male soccer player, said a country’s stance on LGBTQ rights should be considered before awarding the right to host a major sporting event.
Cavallo has yet to be called up to Australia’s senior squad but has previously said he would be “scared” to play at the World Cup in Qatar, where homosexuality is a criminal offence.
The 2018 edition of the football event was held in Russia, where a “gay propaganda” law, passed in 2013, was used to stop gay pride marches and incarceration. gay rights activists.
“I swear to support LGBTQ athletes and fans at the World Cup in Qatar who can’t live openly, honestly. Qatar, FIFA, the whole world is watching,” Cavallo said. “Did you see us?
“I urge sports leaders to consider our rights, our safety while choosing the host country of the World Cup and other competitions. We must do better. I take it.” this honor and duty and promise to pass that test.”
Nasser Al Khater, executive director of the 2022 World Cup, said LGBTQ+ fans coming to the country won’t have to worry about “oppression of any kind”, and described Qatar as a ” tolerant nation”.
Head of WC: LGBTQ+ fans can hold hands for hours in Qatar, no one says anything
Qatar’s World Cup chief has told the England and Wales FAs to focus on their teams rather than claiming compensation for migrant workers.
In a wide-ranging interview in the capital, Doha, Mr. Al Khater also said Sky News that persistent criticism of the league could be seen as racist.
He also said that:
- Gay fans are welcome to show affection and rainbow flags;
- FIFA will have to decide on the captain wearing the “One Love” captain’s armband while forewarning the “political messages” of the teams;
- Special zones will be created for drunken supporters to stay sober;
- 95% of tickets have been sold
The Middle East’s first World Cup opens on November 19 – the culmination of a 12-year journey since Qatar won a widely contaminated vote by FIFA.
At the time, Al Khater had become executive director of the supreme committee overseeing Qatar’s plan and was targeted by criticism.
A group of European nations – including England and Wales – took the time to craft the World Cup to highlight concerns about the suffering of migrant workers and argue for inadequacies in compensation funding. of Qatar.
Mr. Al Khater told Sky News: “Many people who talk about this in regards to worker welfare … are not industry experts. And they are not experts in what they are talking about.
“And I feel that they feel an obligation, that they need to speak. I think they need to really read and educate themselves a little bit more about what’s happening on Qatari ground.”
Please respect the culture
A UEFA working group on labor rights in Qatar held talks at FIFA HQ in Switzerland on Wednesday.
“So when people come out and say, ‘Yes, we agree that there needs to be some kind of compensation fund,'” Al Khater said. “They were just reading a piece of paper.
“So leave that to the experts … and let’s focus on football. Let the football managers focus on their team. And leave it at that.”
While World Cup organizers insist there have been only three work-related deaths at stadiums, concerns persist that many migrant workers die in extensive infrastructure works. larger across Qatar because all deaths are not fully investigated.
Al Khater pointed out that Qatar is improving its labor laws and introducing a minimum wage.
But Qatar was unwilling to change its anti-LGBTQ+ law in response to concerns raised by visiting fans, insisting there would be no discrimination during the 29-day tournament and fans gay graves can hold hands.
“All we ask is for people to respect the culture,” said Al Khater. “Finally, as long as you don’t do anything harmful to other people, if you don’t destroy public property, as long as you behave in a way that isn’t harmful, people welcome you and you don’t. nothing to worry about.”
He added: “Everybody is welcome here and everyone will feel safe when they come to Qatar.”
Underlined if LGBTQ+ fans were included, such as holding hands in public, Mr. Al Khater added: “Yes. If I hold your hand now and I walk out into the street for hours,” Al Khater added. and for hours no one would say anything to us.”
While Mr Al Khater said fans could fly the rainbow flag, he said “it’s a matter of FIFA” whether England captain Harry Kane and Wales counterpart Gareth Bale will wear armbands. multicolor “One love” highlights the distinction or not.
95% of tickets have been sold
Al Khater said: “From what I understand, there are discussions going on about different political messages.
He added: “This is a sports tournament that people want to go to [to] and enjoy. Make it a platform of political statements that I don’t think is appropriate for the sport. “
Fans will be able to attend matches at eight new stadiums built around Doha. Al Khater said there is still room available through the organizers but 95% of tickets have been sold.
To host the World Cup, Qatar had to open more alcohol sales areas – including outside the stadium and in the fan zone – instead of just limited to hotel bars.
Massive gatherings of passionate, drunken fans are foreign territory for the first Muslim country to host the World Cup.
“There are plans to keep people sober if they’ve had too much to drink,” said Al Khater.
“It’s a place to make sure they keep themselves safe, not harm anyone else.”
Al Khater dismissed ongoing concerns about whether buying votes would secure the right to host the World Cup in a vote in 2010 – arguing that Qatar has generally been unfairly targeted. .
“We took on the challenge ourselves, and we overcame it,” he said.
When asked if he felt the criticism was racist, he replied: “I won’t go into other people’s intentions, I won’t go into other people’s minds and souls .
“But you know, who knows, maybe.”