Qatar will allow rainbow flags in stadiums during 2022 World Cup
The 2022 World Cup is scheduled to start in less than two years
Qatar has said it will comply with FIFA regulations promoting tolerance and equality when it hosts the 2022 World Cup, vowing that rainbow flags will be permitted in stadiums throughout the tournament.
Since being awarded the right to host the World Cup a decade ago, Qatar has faced questions over its treatment of migrant workers and how the country's strict anti-LGBTQ laws will affect some of the football supporters planning to travel to watch games. The country's religious code forbids same-sex relations, in contrast with FIFA's promotion of equality and clear stance against homophobia.
However, as reported by the Associated Press, Qatar’s World Cup leadership gave a clear indication that they will make no attempts to remove any displays promoting LGBTQ rights during the tournament.
"When it comes to the rainbow flags in the stadiums, FIFA have their own guidelines, they have their rules and regulations," said Nasser Al-Khater, chief executive of the 2022 World Cup. "Whatever they may be, we will respect them."
"We have a country that's conservative, however we are a welcoming country,” Al-Khater added. "We are open and welcoming - hospitable.
"We understand the difference in people's cultures. We understand the difference in people's beliefs and so I think, again, everybody will be welcome and everybody will be treated with respect.
"Just like our culture is a culture of this world, we also expect people to respect our culture. I think there’s a balance and there’s a feeling that people will respect people from everywhere."
Last year, Liverpool supporters' group, Spirit of Shankly, asked questions of the country ahead of the then-European Champions' appearance at the Club World Cup, hosted in Doha.