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13 May, 2022 10:46

Some Qatar hotels refusing gay couples ahead of World Cup – report

The country is gearing up for the FIFA showpiece later this year
Some Qatar hotels refusing gay couples ahead of World Cup – report

An investigation has reported that some of the hotels on FIFA's list of recommended accommodation ahead of this year's World Cup in Qatar are refusing bookings from same-sex couples, while others have requested that gay couples refrain from public displays of affection in the country in which homosexuality remains illegal.

LGBT groups have expressed concern at how same-sex couples might be treated in the country since Qatar was awarded hosting rights to the World Cup in 2010, which came as part of a flurry of criticism at FIFA's decision to nominate a nation which has also faced accusations of abuses of migrant workers' rights while they built the required stadia and infrastructure.

But despite FIFA stating that everyone from all walks of life will be welcome in Qatar when the World Cup kicks off in November, a team of Norwegian, Swedish and Danish journalists have published the results of an independent investigation in which they found that there remains a high degree of hesitancy regarding gay couples when it came to booking accommodation. 

The reporters contacted a total of 69 hotels on the FIFA official list posing as newlywed gay couples and were told by three hotels that their booking would not be accepted.

Twenty others said that they would take the booking but asked them to refrain from any public activity which might suggest that they were gay. 

The remaining hotels on FIFA's list had no issues accepting reservations from same-sex couples, according to the joint report by Norway's NRK, Sweden's SVT and Denmark's DR.

Responding to the investigation, FIFA said that they remain confident that all necessary measures” will be in place by the time the World Cup begins in November.

“FIFA is confident that all necessary measures will be in place for LGBT+ supporters so that they, like everyone else, can feel welcome and safe during the championships, they said.

Qatar's Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC), the body tasked with arranging the World Cup, are aware of the findings of the report and said that while Qatar is a conservative country”, they are committed to delivering an inclusive FIFA World Cup experience that is welcoming, safe and accessible to all.”

“More than 100 hotels in Qatar that will accommodate visiting football fans, players, officials and other core stakeholders, will be required to comply with the Sustainable Sourcing Code,” they said to the Reuters news agency.

“As a result, hotel operators complying with the Sustainable Sourcing Code are subsequently monitored and evaluated.

“The SC treats any violation of this code or instance of discrimination with the utmost seriousness.

“We would welcome further information on these allegations to ensure any partner associated with the FIFA World Cup does not fall short of the standards expected.