Shrewsbury Town cancel pre-season friendly against Qatar side following backlash 1 month ago

Shrewsbury Town cancel pre-season friendly against Qatar side following backlash

Shrewsbury will instead host an open training session on the same day

Shrewsbury Town have cancelled a pre-season friendly against a side from Qatar following backlash from the club's LGBTQ+ fans' group.

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Proud Salopians posted a statement on Twitter calling for the match against Qatar SC - scheduled to be played on July 6 - to be cancelled. 

The statement read: "Proud Salopians express their collective disappointment that Shrewsbury Town have made the decision to play Qatar SC whilst on summer training camp next week. Whilst we have no animosity towards the fans, players or officials of Qatar SC, we feel strongly that the club ultimately represents a country with worrying stances against the LGBTQ+ community, women's rights and overall human rights.

"Homosexuality is illegal, and under Qatari law carries the death sentence for Muslims, with hefty prison sentences for non-Muslims. Women are dependent on men for permission to marry, travel, pursue higher education or make decisions about their own children, and over 6,500 migrant workers (like to be an underestimate) have died in the country since the World Cup was announced to be held in Qatar back in 2010).

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"Ideally we believe the friendly versus Qatar SC should not go ahead - indeed following similar concerns from sections of their fanbase Watford FC's friendly vs the Qatar national team on their summer training camp has been cancelled. We understand of course that England and Wales will be heading to Qatar later in the year, but unlike these sides, Shrewsbury Town have made an active choice who they play against, and when.

"Given the complex logistics of arranging friendly matches during an overseas training camp. and with the game only being a week away, should the game remain scheduled we urge our club to display its support for ALL human rights, the LGBTQ+ community & women's rights at the game - as part of our #SalopForAll ethos and in light of the clubs recent and ongoing support of HerGameToo, Kick It Out, and Rainbow Laces (amongst other campaigns).

"We strongly believe supporting any aspect of these regimes is morally wrong and ethically dubious, and welcome the opportunity for further fan and supporter group engagement with the club to ensure any future arrangements take into account any collective concerns."

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Salop released a statement announcing that the match had been called off, but did not give a reason why. The club stated that it had been arranged at short notice to replace a schedule fixture against Coventry City, which was also cancelled. 

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Shrewsbury to host open training session instead

The League One outfit will now host an open training session on the same day at their pre-season training camp in Valencia.

It comes after Shrewsbury revealed that their captain would wear a rainbow armband for the match against Qatar SC. 

Watford cancel friendly against Qatar

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Earlier this week, the Hornet's proposed pre-season friendly with the Qatar national team was cancelled after opposition from fans' groups.

The proposed pre-season friendly was criticised by supporters' groups Women of Watford FC - a Watford women’s supporter group - and Proud Hornets, a Watford LGBT+ supporter group.

A joint statement from the two groups said: "WOW and Proud Hornets are very disappointed that Watford FC will play the Qatar national team at its training camp.

"We urge our team to display its support for all human rights, the LGBT+ community & women's rights at the game and will discuss this directly with the club."

The club said that the game would not be going ahead, but that it had never actually been finalised.
League One club Portsmouth are set to face off against Qatar SC on 9 July as part of their pre-season trip to Spain.

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