British television personality Piers Morgan has accused football’s governing body of hypocrisy ahead of the FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
British television personality Piers Morgan has accused football’s governing body of hypocrisy ahead of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
To mark the beginning of Pride Month, a celebration for the LGBTQIA+ community in June, a rainbow flag was flown at the FIFA headquarters in Zurich.
The company’s corporate social media accounts were also updated this week to include the iconic rainbow flag.
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“Every year, Pride Month during June is a celebration for the LGBTQIA+ community, as well as an opportunity to peacefully protest and raise political awareness of current issues,” the company said in a statement on its website.
“The FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 will be a celebration of unity and diversity – a joining of people from all walks of life – regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, age, disability, sex characteristics, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression – everybody will be welcome.”
But FIFA copped heavy backlash on social media due to the serious challenges members of the LGBT community face in Qatar, because the country’s legal system is based on Sharia.
Male homosexuality is illegal in the Middle Eastern nation, with a punishment of up to three years in prison.
Meanwhile, the Qatari government does not recognise same-sex marriage, while citizens are forbidden to campaign for LGBT rights.
On Thursday, Morgan tweeted: “Please stop this ludicrously hypocritical virtue-signalling. You’ve given the World Cup to a country where it’s illegal to be gay, and Muslims can be executed for it. If you really gave a stuff about Pride Month, or gay rights, you wouldn’t have done that.”
FIFA has vowed to ensure all necessary legal protections are in place to protect the LGBTQIA+ community in Qatar, including training all staff involved in the competition on how to accomplish their tasks in a non-discriminatory manner.
“These are just some of the measures taken with the aim of ensuring a welcoming and inclusive tournament for all fans, and the organisation maintains a constant and open dialogue with renowned LGBTQIA+ groups around the world,” the company said.
But earlier this year, a senior official overseeing security for the tournament revealed that football fans could have rainbow flags taken by security to “protect” their safety.
“If (a fan) raised the rainbow flag and I took it from him, it’s not because I really want to, really, take it, to really insult him, but to protect him,” Major General Abdulaziz Abdullah Al Ansari – who is the Director of the Department of International Cooperation and chairman of the National Counter-Terrorism Committee at the Ministry of Interior – told The Associated Press.
“Because if it’s not me, somebody else around him might attack (him) … I cannot guarantee the behaviour of the whole people.”
Previously, FIFA and World Cup organisers said that rainbow flags would be permitted throughout the tournament, but Major General Al Ansari said there will be no public display of LGBTQ freedoms.
“(If) you want to demonstrate your view about the (LGBTQ) situation, demonstrate it in a society where it will be accepted,” he said.
“We realise that this man got the ticket, comes here to watch the game, not to demonstrate, a political (act) or something which is in his mind.
“Watch the game. That’s good. But don’t really come in and insult the whole society because of this.”
The 2022 FIFA World Cup gets underway on Monday, November 21.