Joint Statement From NA/Europe Fan Organizations In Regards to LGBTQIA+ Safety at WC2022
Over the past 18 months, we tried to engage with FIFA and the Qatar Supreme Committee (“SC”) ahead of the World Cup in November and December 2022. Our aims were simple:
• To gain concrete assurances and examples of how LGBT+ fans, players, journalists and staff would be protected in a country that criminalises their existence.
• To raise concerns regarding human rights in Qatar.
• To shine a light on the plight of LGBT+ Qataris and those living in Qatar.
A founding principle of our group is that we should be able to follow our team as our authentic selves wherever we play in the world without fear for our safety and with freedom from persecution. The arguments about whether Qatar should be hosting a World Cup have been well documented. In our conversations with both FIFA and the SC, there has been little effort from organisers to proactively engage around the concerns fans and rights groups have raised. Instead, we have often heard the well drummed PR line that “this is a World Cup for all.” Human rights deserve detail not deflection, but all we have unfortunately seen from those in charge is slogans not safety, gaslighting not guarantees, avoidance not action. Simply put, this is not good enough.
We cannot, in good faith, tell our members, LGBT+ people or allies that this is a World Cup for all.
We have seen no details about how our trans+ members will be treated with respect through security checks. We have heard no specifics on guarantees that LGBT+ people (fans or residents) will not be arrested for their existence. We have witnessed a complete disregard for fans throughout this broken process – it is clear that fans’ voices, especially from minority groups, are not taken seriously by FIFA and the SC.
We are the backbone of the game – listen to us, especially when we are trying to make football a better environment for all. Our questions and concerns are separate to the moral debate on whether LGBT+ fans should attend, and our work will continue after this statement, after this World Cup. We will be heard, we will be seen, we will not be going anywhere. This tournament needs to be safe for travelling fans who decide to go but must also create a positive legacy for LGBT+ people in Qatar. To this end, we will continue working with other stakeholders and governing bodies to express these concerns and help shape a more equal and inclusive future for football.
Change requires both sides to work together — we hope that FIFA and the SC will uphold their end of the bargain. That said, our aims remain the same, and we will pursue them with or without their input.
We will continue to push and are hoping that we will be heard and that we can make change together. But it needs two parties to do so and a genuine commitment for change from the organisers and governing bodies as well.
Football Supporters Europe, Three Lions Pride (England), Queer Football Fanclubs (Europe), Roze Règâhs (ADO Den Haag), Independent Supporters Council North America, Football Supporters against Homophobia Norway, Pride in Football (UK), Rainbow Wall (Wales)