We CANNOT TRUST World Cup hosts Qatar’s assurances on LGBT+ fan safety, says human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell

The tournament kicks off on Sunday, but is still surrounded in controversy.

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As excitement continues to build surrounding the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, the tournament is still facing controversy.

This week, the sale of alcohol to fans at World Cup stadiums was banned with just two days to go until the tournament kicks off.

Human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell told GB News he is "concerned" for LGBT+ fans at the World Cup in Qatar
Human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell told GB News he is "concerned" for LGBT+ fans at the World Cup in Qatar

But further questions are being asked around the safety of travelling LGBT+ football fans.

FIFA president Gianni Infantino wrote to all 32 competing nations earlier this month urging them to focus on the on-field action and “not allow football to be dragged into every ideological or political battle that exists” during the contentious tournament.

One campaigner was arrested in the country, but released ahead of the start of the World Cup.

Human rights activist Peter Tatchell staged a one-person protest in Qatar and arrested by police, but he says they “didn’t know what to do with me”

Mr Tatchell said: “They told me I could go providing I went to the airport, got on a plane and left the country.

“That’s only because I was a white Westerner with a British passport. Only because of the intervention of the British Embassy. And only because, in the run up to the World Cup, the Qatar authorities didn’t want any bad publicity.

“If I’d been a Qatari, I would now be doing time in prison.”

Human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell was arrested in October for protesting in Qatar ahead of the World Cup
Human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell was arrested in October for protesting in Qatar ahead of the World Cup

Speaking to Angela Rippon and Martin Daubney on GB News Breakfast, Mr Tatchell explained why he felt “concerned” for members of the LGBT+ community who were heading to Qatar for the World Cup tournament.

“The standard procedure in Qatar is anyone who is known to be gay, or even suspected or perceived to be gay is liable to be arrested or interrogation on the street, on the metro or in the shopping mall. That’s how bad it is.

“LGBT+ fans will be at risk.

“Qatar authorities say they’re doing to adopt a live and let live attitude, but they’ve broken so many promises.

“They haven’t fulfilled their promises on better conditions for migrant workers, or done so only in part. They’ve just reneged on their promise to allowed beer to be served and drunk in the stadium and the fanzones. Can we really trust these people?

“This is a police state, this is a dictatorship.

“I don’t believe we can trust their assurances, so I am concerned about what might happen to LGBT+ fans.”