Athlete Ally Responds to Men’s World Cup Kickoff in Qatar

November 18, 2021 — Athlete Ally responded today to Sunday’s upcoming kickoff of the 2022 FIFA Men’s World Cup in Qatar, a country with severe human rights concerns including the targeting of LGBTIQ+ people and abuses of migrant workers. Athlete Ally is part of the LGBTIQ Human Rights Sports Coalition, a group of 16 international LGBTIQ+ organizations working to address the human rights violations and lack of protections for LGBTIQ+ people by FIFA and the Supreme Committee ahead of the event. 

In Qatar, homosexuality is illegal, with a punishment of up to three years in prison and a fine and the possibility of death penalty for Muslims under sharia law; In addition, The Qatari government does not recognize same-sex marriage or civil partnerships, nor does it allow people in Qatar to campaign for LGBTIQ+ rights. Also, in the past decade, thousands of migrant workers were subject to wage theft and families lost sole breadwinners to unexplained deaths. 

“Every World Cup brings with it a tremendous opportunity for a positive legacy, and with that legacy comes a responsibility,” said Hudson Taylor, Founder and Executive Director of Athlete Ally. “The failure to address and uphold critical standards of safety and nondiscrimination for people traveling to participate in and attend the World Cup, and for those who live in the host country, sets a dangerous precedent for future events. FIFA has a responsibility to do their due diligence around LGBTIQ+ and other human rights protections or lack thereof, and to consistently monitor and respond to violations as they happen in real time during the Men’s World Cup. 

We know that protecting, respecting and upholding human rights in and around mega-sporting events is not an aspiration but a destination. We hope to see the 2026 Men’s World Cup finally realizing that promise.”

Photo courtesy Fauzan Saari