- Numerous staff of the Wales national soccer team are boycotting this year’s FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
- They say they are doing so because of the country’s stance on gay rights.
- Being homosexual is illegal in Qatar and punishable by death.
Members of the Wales national soccer team staff are boycotting this year’s FIFA World Cup in Qatar because of the country’s anti-gay laws.
Being homosexual in Qatar is illegal and punishable by death, and discrimination and violence against LGBT+ people is rife.
Qatar has insisted the 2022 World Cup is a “tournament for everyone.” But in October, it proposed the introduction of tests to prevent members of the LGBT+ community from entering the country.
Noel Mooney, the head of the Football Association of Wales (FAW), told BBC Wales that the team plans to use the tournament as a “platform” to discuss human rights in Qatar, but some staff have opted not to travel there.
“They’re not going to go to the tournament, which is absolutely their right to do so,” he said.
“The vast, vast majority of people will go and also understand our position that it is a platform to try to improve life there and to have good dialogue on issues like human rights and migrant workers.
“So, we’re looking forward to playing a full part in that and getting clarity on any outstanding issues for traveling supporters.”
Wales qualified for its first World Cup since 1958 earlier this month when it beat Ukraine in a play-off.
After the match, some members of the Rainbow Wall, Wales’ official LGBTQ+ supporters’ group, said they would not travel to Qatar to support the team due to fears for their safety.
Mooney said the Rainbow Wall “will be front and center” of Wales’ thoughts as it plans for this World Cup.
Speaking to Insider, the Rainbow Wall applauded the decision of those staff members who had opted to boycott the tournament.
“For us, this shows a real solidarity and clear message on the importance of making the World Cup a safe space for all,” said the organization.
“Taking this stance show that they are committed to an inclusive and diverse footballing world where all are welcome.”
The Qatar World Cup kicks off on November 21 when Senegal takes on the Netherlands at the Al Thumama Stadium.