• Group includes members from Stonewall, Football Supporters' Association (FSA), Football vs. Homophobia and Sports Media LGBT+
  • Objective of the initiative is to create a safe and inclusive 2022 World Cup for LGBTQ+ supporters, as well as a positive legacy for LGBTQ+ Qataris
  • It will also aim to ensure LGBTQ+ considerations inform decisions about future events

As England today qualifies for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, Kick It Out has announced the formation of the Qatar 2022 Working Group. The coalition of UK organisations, which includes Stonewall, Football Supporters' Association (FSA), Football vs. Homophobia and Sports Media LGBT+ will look at some of the key issues surrounding Qatar 2022, with a particular focus on LGBTQ+ inclusion.

Qatar will become the first country in the Middle East to host the FIFA World Cup, but the nation continues to criminalise homosexuality. Sexual acts between people of the same sex are illegal and trans people cannot change their legal gender. Punishments go all the way up to a decade in prison. Homosexual acts can technically result in execution, although human rights organisations are yet to find any evidence of a gay person being executed for the offence.

This is the reality of life for LGBTQ+ Qataris, but there is obviously also a risk to LGBTQ+ fans and players who may wish to travel to Qatar for the tournament. A 2021 “danger index”, created as a guide for LGBTQ+ travellers, rated Qatar as the eighth most dangerous place to travel for queer people.

With this in mind, the objectives of the Qatar 2022 Working Group are:

1. Preparing for a safe and inclusive 2022 Qatar World Cup for LGBTQ+ supporters

Urging FIFA and tournament organisers to take the necessary steps that ensure the protection and inclusion of fans at the tournament.

2. Creating a positive legacy for LGBTQ+ Qataris

Using the tournament as a platform for the advancement and amplification of LGBTQ+ rights in Qatar.

3. Creating an LGBTQ+ voice within sports leadership to inform key decisions around future events

Making sure the rights and considerations of the LGBTQ+ community are incorporated into decisions regarding future tournaments and events.

Chris Paouros, Chair of Kick It Out Qatar 2022 Working Group said:

“Kick it Out is committed to supporting football in becoming a game where everyone belongs. Holding the world’s biggest sporting and football event in a country where LGBTQ+ people are criminalised is a challenging concept for us both as a football charity and as an organisation which has built a reputation around fighting for inclusion.

Alongside the other inspirational organisations in the newly formed Qatar 2022 Working Group, we hope to drive inclusion and security for fans at next year’s tournament, as well as creating a lasting impact for the rights LGBTQ+ people in Qatar, and on the decision making process for future tournaments.”