Qatari emir promises 'non-discriminatory' welcome to football fans

The Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani, during his speech to the UN General Assembly, Tuesday September 20.

On the occasion of the United Nations General Assembly, which opened on Tuesday, September 20 in New York, the Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim Ben Hamad Al Thani declared that his country will welcome all supporters " without discrimination during the World Cup which will take place from November 20 to December 18.

Homosexuality being illegal in this Gulf state, many supporters' associations and federations, led by Norway, have expressed concern about the fate of LGBT + visitors. While the calls for a boycott of the competition are increasing, to denounce the working conditions on the construction sites and the treatment reserved for minorities, the emir assured that "The Qatari people will welcome football fans from all walks of life with open arms."

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Less than two months from the start of the World Cup, the words of Sheikh Tamim Ben Hamad Al Thani thus sound like an attempt to reassure the homosexual and transgender community about the reception that will be given to him in the country. The Qatari people "will open its doors to all supporters, without discrimination, so that they can enjoy the football matches and the extraordinary atmosphere of the tournament"promised the emir before the assembly of world leaders gathered at the UN.

“We do not believe in public displays of affection, but we also believe in the need to welcome everyone, regardless of their origin”said the secretary general of the World Cup organizing committee, Hassan Al-Thawadi, at a press conference on Monday. For its part, FIFA had reaffirmed the same day that rainbow flags, symbols of the LGBT + community, would be authorized around stadiums.

Read also: World Cup 2022 in Qatar: Amnesty International calls on FIFA to compensate workers

The World with AFP

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