'They are welcome to express their love': Gerdine Lindhout of FIFA tells ITV News fans should feel comfortable with their partners
LGBT+ football fans can make public displays of affection at FIFA venues during the World Cup in Qatar without fear of repercussion, the governing body has said.
Tournament host Qatar is being widely criticised over its oppressive laws and treatment of LGBT+ people.
England skipper Harry Kane is one of several national captains who plan to participate in the ‘OneLove’ campaign during the tournament to oppose discrimination.
Qatar’s World Cup ambassador Khalid Salman told German broadcaster ZDF last week that homosexuality is “haram” and a “damage in the mind”, while homosexuality is illegal in the country.
But on Wednesday, Gerdine Lindhout, head of fans’ experience a FIFA, told ITV News supporters can express themselves without fear of consequences inside official venues and fan zones.
“There is no risk, they are welcome, they are welcome to express themselves, they are welcome to express their love for their partners,” she said.
“There is no risk, this is an official Fifa event and we would love to welcome them here. They won’t get into trouble for sharing public displays of affection.”
The status of LGBT people at the World Cup has been one of many controversies caused by Qatar.
The USA has also rebranded their teams’ jerseys with a rainbow logo, while Australia’s team released a video addressing their human rights concerns.
Foreign Secretary James Cleverly was criticised last month when he urged LGBT fans to ‘respect’ Qatar during the World Cup.