Srinagar: In a major statement ahead of the FIFA World Cup 2022 Qatar, English Football Association chief executive Mark Bullingham has said that LGBTQ+ fans won’t be arrested for holding hands or kissing in public in Qatar.
The LGBTQ+ community had raised concerns over how safe they will be at the tournament in November-December as same-sex sexual activity is illegal in the Gulf state.
Bullingham revealed on Wednesday that he has been told police in Qatar are briefed to be tolerant during the tournament.
“We have been asking those questions of the Qatari authorities over the last six months”.
“They have absolutely told us all the right answers for anything we’ve talked about, even down to the point of ‘are rainbow flags allowed?”.
“Yes, absolutely (they are allowed) as long as someone doesn’t go and drape them on the outside of a mosque – that was one example we were given – and were disrespectful in that way”.
“But they have absolutely been briefed to be very tolerant and act in the right way. Any time we ask a direct question we tend to get an answer.”
Despite those assurances, FA chiefs are still requesting more detail from the local organising committee that all fans, including those from the LGBTQ+ community, will be safe and secure in Qatar.