The foreign secretary James Cleverly has stated that Qatari officials have taken ‘real steps’ to keep LGBTQ+ fans safe during the World Cup in the state.
This follows significant controversy over human rights in the country, especially for LGBTQ+ people, as homosexuality is illegal there.
Cleverly said he had been involved in “difficult conversations … over a number of years,” around the safety of LGBTQ+ people travelling to the country for the event, which began on 20 November.
When asked by the BBC about whether UK-Qatari relations were more important than protecting LGBTQ+ people abroad, he responded: “The values underpin everything we do. “This was about ensuring that the English and Welsh fans going over to enjoy the football were safe and happy and that they enjoyed themselves whilst watching the tournament. “At no point … did we bring up any of the kind of economic or commercial stuff. “The Qataris know how seriously we take this issue and they have taken real steps to ensure that gay football fans are safe and do feel secure and can enjoy the football.” The Cabinet member commented that the rules for behaviour within the stadiums were a matter for FIFA and other football authorities.