With the Men’s World Cup due to kick off in Qatar this November, has FIFA failed its LGBTQ+ supporters?
It was 12 years ago when Qatar was awarded the right to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup, which is due to kick off in November.
The men’s football championship dominates headlines and excites fans right around the world. Thousands will descend on the country to view the spectacle and millions more will watch from afar.
Sport is wonderful thing – often bringing communities together and challenging societal barriers. But there’s a dark cloud hanging over this year’s football event. This will be the first time the FIFA World Cup has been hosted by an Arab country.
There are concerns about the safety and wellbeing of fans travelling to a region that fails to protect a number of fundamental human rights.
In Qatar, homosexuality is illegal and punishable with up to 7 years in prison, or even death in some circumstances. At a sporting event where everyone is supposed to be welcome, many fans won’t necessarily feel safe – if they do decide to attend at all.
TICKER NEWS spoke with former football player Thomas Beattie. On 23 June 2020, Beattie came out as gay during an interview with ESPN. He was one of the first male professional footballers to do so.
Following a career-ending injury, the now 35-year-old said this incident was the trigger he needed to reveal his true self.
“It was big to learn to embrace every part of myself and be ok with it,” he said. “I used to go home and lay on my bed, praying it would all go away. I still think if I was playing now, I’d still not be out.”
Should the World Cup be held in Qatar?
When it comes to the World Cup in Qatar, Beattie is frustrated the pinnacle of men’s football was given to an Arab nation in the first place.
“I don’t think any global sporting event should be hosted in any country that doesn’t have equal rights across the board,” he said.
But FIFA is determined it will be just as spectacular as ever, promising inclusion will be at the forefront of every decision.
“We’ve received the necessary guarantees, we are training all the officials,” FIFA President Gianni Infantino said.
“We are working hand in hand with the government, with the police authorities, everyone will be welcome.”
There is also hope that having the World Cup in Qatar will be a catalyst of change. Could this moment lead to policy reform and greater protections for the nation’s Queer community?
Regardless, all eyes will be on FIFA and Qatar as fans and players touch down in Doha in November. Will the tournament be remembered for all the right reasons or will it be shrouded in shame?
Update on Brittney Griner’s Moscow appeal
A Moscow regional court has officially set an appeal date of October 25 for American basketball star Brittney Griner
Griner was sentenced to nine years in prison in Russia for smuggling drugs into the country, arrested with less than 1 gram of cannabis oil in her luggage at Moscow’s International Airport back in February.
Details about the appeal hearing have not been released,
It is expected Griner’s team will argue she did not know the cannabis oil was illegal in Russia and that she was only carrying a small amount for personal use.
There have also been rumours that the U.S. is negotiating a prisoner swap with Russia, but it is not clear if Griner is part of those negotiations.
The U.S. has not confirmed or denied the rumours.
Vigil held for the 125 people killed in stadium disaster
Vigil held for the 125 people killed in Indonesia’s stadium disaster, as the nation mourns
Vigil held for the 125 people have been killed in a crush and riot at a soccer match in Indonesia.
Authorities believe it is one of the world’s worst stadium disasters. Now, the nation stops to mourn the lives that have been lost.
The tragedy unfolded in Malang, in the province of East Java. It followed home side Arema FC loosing 3-2 to Persebaya Surabaya.
East Java police chief Nico Afinta said frustrated Arema supporters invaded the pitch.
Officers responded by firing tear gas in an attempt to control the situation, triggering the crush and cases of suffocation.
Afinta claimed officers had been attacked and cars damaged. He said the crush happened when fans fled for an exit gate.
300 were injured, including 22-year-old Muhammad Rian Dwicahyono who said many friends had lost their lives “because of officers who dehumanized us”.
The head of one of the hospitals in the area treating patients told Metro TV that some of the victims had sustained brain injuries and that the fatalities included a five-year-old child.
On Sunday, Malang residents gathered outside the stadium to lay flowers.
As investigations continue, Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo has ordered the Football Association of Indonesia to suspend all games in the top league.
World soccer’s governing body FIFA has requested a report on the incident from Indonesia’s PSSI soccer association.
FIFA’s safety regulations say no firearms or “crowd control gas” should be carried or used by stewards or police.
East Java police did not immediately respond to a request for comment on whether they were aware of such regulations.
Crypto.com scraps $495m deal with UEFA Champions League
Cryptocurrency exchange Crypto.com has cancelled a five-year sponsorship deal worth $495million with the UEFA Champions League
The in-principle deal would have seen the crypto company take over as the sponsor from Russian state-owned energy company, Gazprom.
Gazprom’s contract was cancelled in March, following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Crypto.com scrapped the deal because of regulatory concerns in the U.K, France and Italy.
The crypto exchange has previously been involved in sports advertising over the past year, with sponsorship into Formula One and the naming rights deal for the Staples Centre in Los Angeles.
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