'Shame on Fifa': Keir Starmer Slams Qatar World Cup Over LGBTQ Rights

Labour leader says the World Cup belongs to "everyone who loves football".
House of Commons via PA Wire/PA Images

Keir Starmer has said Fifa has brought further “shame” on itself with the way it sided with Qatari authorities and against LGBTQ people at the World Cup.

“The World Cup doesn’t belong to Fifa and it doesn’t belong to the host nation. It belongs to everyone who loves football,” the Labour leader said during PMQs on Wednesday.

“It’s totally unacceptable that during this tournament gay football fans are unable to acknowledge who they love and players have been threatened with suspension if they show solidarity with those fans.”

Starmer added: “Shame on Fifa.”

Homosexuality is illegal in Qatar.

According to Human Rights Watch, LGBTQ people are subject to arbitrary arrest and many have been subject to physical abuse “ranging from slapping to kicking and punching until they bled”.

In the first week of the tournament alone, fans have reported having rainbow items, including T-shirts and Wales bucket hats, confiscated by officials.

A Danish television journalist was also approached by police and told he could not wear a “One Love” rainbow-coloured armband while reporting.

England and Wales were among event European national teams, including who abandoned plans to wear the anti-discrimination armband following threats by Fifa to impose sporting sanctions.

Foreign secretary James Cleverly said Qatar has “taken real steps” to ensure that “gay football fans are safe and do feel secure”.

But Conservative MP Alicia Kearns, who chairs the Commons foreign affairs committee, has said “nothing about their behaviour has changed” since the country was awarded the hosting rights in 2010.


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