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Wales’ Rainbow Wall criticise FIFA and Qatar World Cup organisers over LGBTQ+ rights

02 Apr 2022 3 minute read
The Rainbow Wall logo an the world cup

Wales’ Rainbow Wall supporters group is one of eight who have issued a joint statement criticising FIFA or the organisers of the Qatar 2022 World Cup over LGBTQ+ rights.

The signatories said that they could not “in good faith” tell their members that they would be safe in Qatar and criticised the claim that it would be a ‘World Cup for all’ as a “well-drummed PR line”.

They added that “slogans… gaslighting… and avoidance” had characterised their conversations to date with representatives of world football’s governing body and Qatar 2022’s Supreme Committee (SC) for Delivery and Legacy.

The letter was signed by Wales’ Rainbow Wall, Football Supporters Europe, Three Lions Pride (England), Queer Football Fanclubs (Europe), Roze Règâhs (ADO Den Haag), Independent Supporters Council North America, Football Supporters against Homophobia Norway, and Pride in Football (UK).

Qatar 2022’s website includes assurances that the WorldCup will be “a tournament for everyone – we want this to be the most inclusive, people-focused edition of the tournament ever held”.

But the supporter group’s statement said: “A founding principle of our group is that we should be able to follow our team as our authentic selves wherever we play in the world without fear for our safety and with freedom from persecution. The arguments about whether Qatar should be hosting a World Cup have been well documented.

“In our conversations with both FIFA and the SC, there has been little effort from organisers to proactively engage around the concerns fans and rights groups have raised. Instead, we have often heard the well-drummed PR line that ‘this is a World Cup for all’.

“Human rights deserve detail not deflection, but all we have unfortunately seen from those in charge are slogans not safety, gaslighting not guarantees, avoidance not action. Simply put, this is not good enough.

“We cannot, in good faith, tell our members, LGBT+ people or allies that this is a World Cup for all. We have seen no details about how our trans+ members will be treated with respect through security checks. We have heard no specifics on guarantees that LGBT+ people (fans or residents) will not be arrested for their existence.”

Wales’ Rainbow Wall was set up in February last year with the backing of the Football Association of Wales.

The aim was to make Wales’ matchdays more inclusive for any international supporter who may be visiting the stadium, and make sure Wales supporters feel safe going away to watch our teams play, particularly in countries that may not be as welcoming for LGBTQ+ people.

On Friday Wales discovered that, if they qualify by beating Scotland or Ukraine in the play-off final, they would be in Group B alongside England, Iran and the USA.

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Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
2 years ago

World sport corrupt in body and soul…

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