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sting Qatar hotels on FIFA list for World Cup ‘refuse to accept gay guests’


FIFA president Gianni Infantino

FIFA president Gianni Infantino

FIFA president Gianni Infantino

Hotels on FIFA’s official list for the World Cup in Qatar later this year said that they would not accept gay guests, and asked potential customers to adjust their behaviour, according to an investigation.

Journalists working for media groups in Sweden and Denmark contacted 69 hotels, posing as a newly-wed gay couple, to see their reaction to a proposed reservation.

According to NRK and SVT in Sweden and DR in Denmark, three hotels would not accept the reservation, with one suggesting it would be against hotel policy to do so. A further 20 hotels advised the couple to avoid public displays of affection.

FIFA and the local World Cup organisers have previously insisted that everyone is welcome at the tournament, despite homosexuality being illegal in Qatar.

Although 33 hotels on the FIFA list did accept a booking from the male couple, the investigation found that one third either did not accept the reservation or expressed concerns.

FIFA president Gianni Infantino insisted last year that “all are welcome in Qatar” and said that LGBTQ+ fans should attend the tournament and “engage and speak and convince” during their stay. “We cannot think that if we stay home and just criticise things will change,” he said.

The hotels investigation began in March, with the journalists not specifying a date for their honeymoon. “Among the hotels that have answered no, one has answered by email,” NRK said. “The other two have answered the phone.

“In both cases where hotels have answered the phone, the person has conferred with colleagues/superiors before we have received an answer.”

On hotel reportedly replied: “I would like to inform you that we have previously had incidents where the police have picked up Qataris at the hotel who have had homosexual relationships.”

Maj Gen Abdulaziz Abdullah Al Ansari, an official in the Qatari government, said last month LGBTQ+ fans would be welcome to book rooms during the tournament. “Reserve the room together, sleep together – this is something that’s not in our concern,” he said. “We are here to manage the tournament.

“Let’s not go beyond the individual personal things which might be happening between these people.”

Al Ansari, however, did counsel against overt promotion of LGBTQ+ freedoms.

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The findings of the hotel investigation were shared with FIFA, which said LGBTQ+ fans would be welcome in Qatar. “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 championship.” (© Telegraph Media Group Ltd, 2022)

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Telegraph Media Group Limited [2021]