Qatar to allow rainbow flags at World Cup despite anti-LGBTQ laws


Rainbow flags will be allowed in stadiums at the 2022 FIFA World Cup after Qatar said it would comply with FIFA rules promoting tolerance and inclusion at matches, despite the Arab country's strict anti-LGBTQ laws.

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With less than two years until the tournament, though, concerns persist about the treatment facing gay fans in Qatar due the conservative religious code prohibiting same-sex relations that conflict with FIFA's stance against homophobia.

FIFA said it was determined to push Qatar on staging a "tournament that is inclusive" when the World Cup heads to the Middle East for the first time.

Qatar's World Cup leadership has offered FIFA the assurances that displays promoting LGBTQ rights will not be removed.

"When it comes to the rainbow flags in the stadiums, FIFA have their own guidelines, they have their rules and regulations," 2022 World Cup chief executive Nasser Al-Khater told the AP. "Whatever they may be, we will respect them."

Pressure will be intensified on Qatar ahead of the World Cup opening in November 2022 and anti-discrimination activists want Qatar to go further by changing the laws.

"What it doesn't do is help the LGBTQ+ Qatari community," said Chris Paouros, a member of the English Football Association's inclusion advisory board.

"It's great for us to be able to go and put our flags up in the stadium, and that's wonderful during a World Cup... But ultimately we do this work because we want to make sure that everybody can be free to be who they are and if you're a Qatari and you're not able to, then it just feels like window dressing."

Source AAP