New Delhi: English Football Association chief executive Mark Bullingham says he has been told LGBTQ+ fans won’t be arrested for holding hands or kissing in public at the FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
The LGBTQ+ community had raised concerns over how safe they will be at the tournament in November-December as same-sex sexual activity is illegal in the Gulf state. Some English LGBTQ+ fans have reportedly stayed away from the World Cup because they have not received adequate assurances.
But Bullingham revealed on Wednesday that he has been told by the police in Qatar are briefed to be tolerant during the tournament.
When asked whether the FA had planned for the scenario of an England fan being arrested for holding hands or kissing a same-sex partner in public, Bullingham said, “We have been asking those questions of the Qatari authorities over the last six months. They have absolutely told us all the right answers for anything we’ve talked about, even down to the point of ‘are rainbow flags allowed?”
“Yes, absolutely (they are allowed) as long as someone doesn’t go and drape them on the outside of a mosque, that was one example we were given and was disrespectful in that way.”
“But they have absolutely been briefed to be very tolerant and act in the right way. Any time we ask a direct question we tend to get an answer.”