FIFA World Cup 2022: LGBTQ rights and alcohol issues in Qatar
Qatar is in the limelight ahead of the FIFA World cup over the issues of the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, And Transgender) community and alcohol consumption.
Recently, Human Rights Watch (HRW) warned that Qatari residents may face the risk of persecution if they stand up for gay rights during the World Cup. The laws on homosexuality have also caused several LGBTQ fans to be worried about their safety in the country because same-sex relationships are directly criminalised under the laws in Qatar.
Qatar operates an interpretation of Sharia law, so it criminalises same-sex sexual activity. According to HRW, there have also been some reports of discrimination and violence being committed against LGBT people in the country.
Recently, Qatar FIFA World Cup ambassador and former footballer Khalid Salman said that homosexuality is “damage in the mind.” Salman was discussing the issue of homosexuality with an interviewer. Salman reportedly said that being gay was “haram” and “damage in the mind.” Human rights activist Rasha Younes, senior LGBT rights researcher at Human Rights Watch, condemned his remarks. She wrote on Twitter, “The Qatari government’s failure to counter this false information has a significant impact on the lives of Qatar’s LGBT residents.”
In Qatar, people are also expected to refrain from drinking in public places. Smoking is also prohibited in all public spaces in the country. Alcohol is currently available to only visitors at licensed restaurants and bars.
Reportedly, FIFA and Qatari officials had struggled for years to come up with a plan for the World Cup in relation to alcohol.
According to the New York Times, Qatar has decided to move beer stations away from directly outside stadiums. Budweiser, the official sponsor of beer at the tournament, said that the company received this information on Saturday. Reportedly, the company was asked to move its beer stations to less visible sites outside stadiums. Fans can purchase alcohol at bars inside designated hotels.
Budweiser will only be allowed to serve beer in part of the main FIFA fan zone in central Doha from 6:30 pm to 1:00 am.
According to reports, Budweiser pays around $75 million to associate itself with the World Cup every four years. However, this year, the company faced obstacles that led to ongoing tensions between Budweiser and FIFA. Qatar will host the FIFA World Cup 2022 from November 20 until December 18 2022.