The LGBT+ rights groups have repeatedly expressed strong concern at how same-sex couples might be treated in Qatar since the country was awarded hosting rights to the World Cup in 2010.
Gay rights concerns 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.
A group of European investigative journalists has just released the results of a recent independent investigation in which they found that there remains a high degree of animosity and outright hostility regarding same-sex couples when it came to booking hotel accommodation in Qatar ahead of the 2022 World Cup.
During their investigation, journalists from state broadcasters in Denmark, Sweden and Norway posed as gay newlyweds planning their honeymoon when attempting to book a room at 69 hotels on FIFA’s official list of recommended providers.
Despite FIFA stating that everyone from all walks of life will be welcome in Qatar when the World Cup kicks off in November, three Qatari hotels on FIFA’s list flatly refused bookings from same-sex couples citing Qatari laws that render homosexuality illegal, while twenty others have demanded that gay couples refrain from any public displays of affection.
The remaining hotels on FIFA’s list apparently 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.
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.’
Commenting on the investigation, FIFA also declared 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 LGBTQ+ supporters so that they, like everyone else, can feel welcome and safe during the championships,” they said.