The CEO of the 2022 FIFA World Cup organising committee, Nasser Al Khater, says “homosexuality is not authorised” in his home country of Qatar.

In 2010, the small emirate on the Arabian Peninsula earned the right to host the tournament.

CNN did an interview with Al Khater in November of last year in which he claimed Qatar has been treated “unfairly” and “unjustly.”

Al Khater told CNN Sport’s Amanda Davies that he knows the World Cup “brings with it a certain amount of scrutiny” and “if it’s something that’s going to be catalyst for change,” Qataris will support it.

The Middle Eastern state has anti-homosexuality laws and prohibits same-sex marriage. Those caught in homosexual acts can be punished with a prison sentence of up to three years.

Australia’s Josh Cavallo Afraid to Play in Qatar

Australia’s Josh Cavallo, who came out as gay in October last year, said he would be “scared” to play in Qatar.

“I read [that Qatar] gives a death penalty to people, for gay people, in Qatar. It is something that I am very scared of and wouldn’t really want to go to Qatar for that and that saddens me because at the end of the day, the World Cup is in Qatar and one of the greatest achievements as a professional footballer is to play for your country,” Cavallo said in Guardian’s Today in Focus podcast.

“That does make me re-evaluate, is my life more important than doing something really good in my career, Cavallo continued.”

“On the contrary,” Al Khater responded to CNN, “We welcome him here in the state of Qatar, we welcome him to come and see even prior to the World Cup…nobody feels threatened here, nobody feels unsafe.

“The notion that people don’t feel safe here is untrue. I’ve said this before and I say this to you again, everybody is welcome here. Everybody is welcome here and everybody will feel safe here. Qatar is a tolerant country. It’s a welcoming country. It’s a hospitable country.”

76 Countries Criminalise Same-Sex Sexual Acts

According to an Amnesty International, “76 countries criminalise sexual acts between adults of the same sex,” and in “10 countries the maximum sentence for sexual acts between same sex adults is the death penalty.”

According to CNN, other sporting stars and fans from around the globe, including queer Welsh football supporter, James Brinning said he “wouldn’t feel safe” travelling to Qatar if Wales qualifies for the World Cup.

“That’s really upsetting to think about because I should be able to be a part of such a huge moment in Welsh football history if it happens,” he said.

CNN reported that Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton wore a “helmet featuring the Pride Progress Flag – a redesigned and more inclusive version of the traditional flag – which was emblazoned with the words ‘We Stand Together’,” before competing in and winning the Qatar Grand Prix on November 21 last year.

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