Qatar, which will host the 2022 World Cup for men, is notorious for violating the rights of women, migrant workers, and members of the LGBTQ+ community. In Qatar, having a same-sex relationship is against the law and is subject to a seven-year jail sentence. These human rights violations are being scrutinized on a worldwide scale since Qatar is holding one of the most well-attended international sporting events.
The most recent controversy came when England and Wales’ captains prepared to defy FIFA by donning “OneLove” armbands during the competition. The rainbow armbands are a show of support for LGBTQ+ rights and a protest against prejudice. However, FIFA unveiled its own social campaign armbands on the day of the competition and declared that “we have clear laws on armbands,” according to its president Gianni Infantino.
It was said that players who were caught donning the rainbow armbands might get on-field punishments, such as yellow cards. The teams later decided against donning the armband, citing the following justification in a joint statement from several football associations:
“We cannot put our players in a situation where they may be booked, or even forced to leave the field of play,” the statement said. “We were willing to pay fines that would ordinarily apply to breaches of kit laws.
Many people, including FIFA and the U.K., have passively accepted prejudice. government. The statements made by UK reflect this. James Cleverley, the foreign secretary, said that LGBTQ+ World Cup attendees in Qatar need to exhibit “a little bit of elasticity and compromise.” Fans were cleverly reminded to show “respect for the host nation.”
The UK Football Association responds to the problems with Qatar by saying it has “the categorical answer that all supporters, including those from LGBTQ+ groups, will be welcomed in Qatar 2022, and that the safety and security of every fan is Qatar’s first concern.”
A Qatari official, however, told German media two weeks before to the commencement of the World Cup that homosexuality is “damage in the head” and that gay people “had to respect our norms here.”
These remarks first seem to be foolish, but they actually hide a far greater problem. Regarding human rights, there shouldn’t be any “bend and compromise.” Criminalizing LGBTQ+ individuals is a generally significant problem since it violates their human rights rather than being a cultural choice. But in the case of the World Cup, many people seem to see a blurring of the distinctions.
FIFA’s contradictory stance
FIFA ideals appear to be at odds with Qatar’s attitude on LGBTQ+ human rights, which raises major concerns about the governing body’s stand on the matter. According to FIFA, it is “committed to safeguarding all human rights that are universally acknowledged and shall work to further the preservation of these rights.” Discrimination of any type, including that based on sexual orientation, is “strictly banned and punished by suspension or expulsion,” according to this policy.
The United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights were endorsed by FIFA in 2016. International human rights law forbids discrimination based on a person’s sexual orientation, gender identity, or sex characteristics, as the U.N. has frequently affirmed.
In 2020, FIFA also established a section for human rights and anti-discrimination. This is supported by the obligation that the body take actions to lessen and prevent violations of human rights.
Qatar’s treatment of members of the LGBTQ+ community looks to be in odds with FIFA’s stated principles. FIFA has advised competing nations to “concentrate on football” and cease “handing out moral lectures” in place of denouncing Qatar’s violations of human rights.
Sepp Blatter, the former president of FIFA, has said that awarding Qatar the World Cup was an error and the product of political pressure. The harsh fact that there appears to be a cost associated with human rights is highlighted by Qatar’s alleged billion-dollar investment in international soccer.
Despite the rhetorical criticism of the prejudice by some, the long-term effects of the Qatar World Cup on LGBTQ+ problems in football may not be felt for many years.
Football in the UK has a long history of discriminating against members of the LGBTQ+ community. But it seems like things are getting better. Since Justin Fashanu in 1990, Jake Daniel of Blackpool is the first and only active male professional footballer in the United Kingdom to openly come out as homosexual. For LGBTQ+ athletes, this represents a significant advancement.
Still, there still prejudice towards LGBTQ+ football players. The government’s inaction and harsh rhetoric in the run-up to the World Cup may have exacerbated homophobia in football and discouraged more players from coming out. Additionally, it could affect the career decisions of aspiring athletes or those wishing to work in the industry.
Because they feel left out of the tournament, LGBTQ+ supporters are abstaining from the World Cup.
People should not be forced to compromise or “bend” their values in order to be LGBTQ+. A fundamental human right is the absence of discrimination based on sexual orientation. It may be argued that those who participate in this World Cup are participants in such prejudice.