The unworthy and intolerable words of the head of the organizing committee for the Qatar Soccer World Cup 2022, Nasser Al-Khated, threatening LGTBI people not to express expressions of affection in public during the celebration of the World Cup because homosexuality is prohibited in this country They have opened an interesting debate that we should take advantage of. De facto, he is recognizing that at the World Cup there will be first-rate fans who are free to celebrate goals and second-rate fans who threaten us for expressing affection in public. It is worth remembering that the fight for the defense of LGTBI rights in the world should challenge all of us, all of us, especially those people who have the privilege of being public speakers who have the potential to give visibility to a topic of social interest, as is the case of athletes. In addition, most of them (luckily, they also increasingly) are references and examples of behavior for young and not so young people.
Certainly, the ideal would have been that FIFA, which is the competent entity in these decisions, had not chosen to celebrate the World Cup in a country that systematically violates the most essential human rights such as Qatar. For example, there are suspicions more than founded and alerted by entities in defense of human rights, such as Amnesty International, that they report the death of 6,700 foreign workers located in this country in the preparation of the facilities that should cover the world of soccer. If we add to this the homophobic statements of the head of the organizing committee, there is no doubt that Qatar should not be an option for a sporting event of the magnitude of the World Cup. This leads us to a first basic reflection: FIFA must modify its policy of collaboration with certain political regimes that use sporting events to whitewash their behavior contrary to human rights. This is not the first time this has happened and it should not happen again.
Now, being clear that FIFA has already made a decision and that the Spanish Football Federation is not going to announce its resignation to participate in this World Cup that can whitewash a homophobic regime, a question arises that is the one that should focus the debate: How do we make the fight for LGTBI rights more visible in a country that violates them? From En Comú Podem we have proposed to the president of the Spanish Federation that the players wear a bracelet there in defense of LGTBI people; it is an option. It is clear that what cannot happen is that the Spanish team go to Qatar to play the World Cup as if nothing happened there because we would be collaborating in the strategy of whitening their regime. Going to play in Qatar before a homophobic organizing committee as if we were playing in Portugal, Italy or Germany cannot be an option. You have to turn the situation around and see an opportunity to make LGTBI rights visible. If the national team goes to Qatar, it must go with a protest that makes the situation in this country visible. The Soccer World Cup, along with the Olympic Games, are indisputably the sporting events with the largest television audience; in the last World Cup the number of spectators was 1,100 million people. It is an escape to the world that we cannot miss. In this sense, the role of sport in general, and football in particular, when giving visibility to often invisible struggles must be taken into account.
In short, it is about turning around the unworthy strategy of a homophobic regime like Qatar that intends to use sport to whitewash its LGTBIphobia. We must make the football speaker serve to denounce the systematic violation of LGTBI rights in this country. And I can’t imagine a better event than the World Cup. What would happen if, after scoring a goal in the World Cup, two players from the Spanish team kissed before the homophobic authorities of this country? Think about the answer and we will have the reason why it is necessary to make our struggle visible worldwide.