England fans cheer at BOXPARK Croydon as they watch a live broadcast of England’s opening group stage match against Iran on November 21, 2022 in London, England. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
UPDATED 11:38 a.m. PT – Tuesday, November 22, 2022
National teams and sports organizations turned a blind eye to Qatar’s human rights record for the World Cup.
On Monday, seven European teams released a joint statement, confessing that they would not wear the “one love” rainbow arms as planned.
The move was a reaction to global soccer monopoly FIFA threatening to impose sporting sanctions on teams displaying the LGBTQ+ fashion statement. European Union spokeswoman Dana Spinant of the European Commission dodged questions on the matter, simply saying she supported the gesture but did not support the same agenda abroad.
“Of course we can’t make a statement about that,” Spinant said. “We don’t have the competence to discuss issues like these with the teams. All we can say is that for us, it is very important that the meaning behind the rainbow bracelet is recognized. These are issues that we attach great importance to in Europe and also in the world.”
Europe has become squamish about the issue due to the host country’s harsh laws on homosexuality.
Qatari law calls for one to three years in prison for people who incite or seduce men or women, and for those who commit illegal or immoral actions, including sodomy. Same-sex incidents can land offenders in prison for up to seven years.
Under Koranic Sharia Law, as accepted in Qatar, same-sex relationships are punishable by death. LGBTQ+ visitors to the country have filed complaints about being unfairly detained. There have been multiple allegations of physical abuse and sexual harassment by the Gulf State’s security forces.
Some detainees have even said they were forced to attend conversion therapy in exchange for their release.
However, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who has said US foreign policy will be guided by fairness, has not addressed those standards about the “unifying” nature of football.
“But it’s an incredibly powerful way to bring people together. And what we see is that some of you have spoken about some of the differences and divisions in the world,” Blinken said. “It’s just a powerful reminder of how sport unites us across geography, backgrounds and groups of one kind or another.”
The United States Men’s National Team was able to bring some of their “woke messages” to Qatari soil as their training facility features a One Nation pride mural. However, their virtue signaling fell short of Sharia Law, as the team did not display any LGBTQ+ insignia in their opening game against Wales.
“We are a group that believes in inclusion and we will continue to project it in the future.”
— US Men’s National Soccer Team (@USMNT) November 14, 2022
LGBTQ+ rights are not the only issue on the button when it comes to Qatar. The country’s male guardianship law requires women to get male approval for most major life decisions. The Gulf State also confiscated the passports of thousands of migrant workers in order to trap them to build the World Cup stadiums. The project claimed thousands of lives.
Despite the Western elevation of women, LGBTQ+ and human rights in general, FIFA president Gianni Infantino says it is Europe that should hide its head in shame.
“I think for what we’ve been doing for 3,000 years around the world, we should be apologizing for the next 3,000 years before we start giving people moral lessons,” Infantino said.
Qatar banned the sale of alcohol in World Cup stadiums two days before the opening ceremony, prompting Ecuador fans to chant “we want beer” in their two-nil humiliation against the host country.