The FIFA World Cup in Qatar is getting attention right now in part because the host nation outlaws homosexuality.

Yet it’s neither the first nor last country to host a world cup or world championship while imprisoning or executing LGBT people.

Earlier this year the the World Fencing Championships were held in Cairo, Egypt, where homosexuality is technically legal, but morality laws make gay sex problematic, according to Human Rights Watch. In 2023, the Sitting Volleyball World Cup will also be held in Cairo.

There are various upcoming continental championships that will be held in countries banning homosexuality, including the 2023 Asian Football Confederation championship in Qatar and the 2024 African Athletics Championships slated for Cameroon.

Many of these laws banning homosexuality were brought by European settlers. While Europe has abandoned these punitive laws, they linger across parts of the globe.

One of the issues facing international governing bodies is that it’s often these totalitarian governments that have the power to funnel millions or billions of dollars, and countless hours of labor, into providing venues and a seamless experience for athletes. It’s also often these totalitarian regimes that most strongly oppose homosexuality.

Of course, the legality of simply being gay or same-sex sexual activity is not the only factor in determining how LGBT-friendly a country may be. Still, the government murdering or imprisoning people simply for being gay is clearly the most egregious policy.

As listed below, there are various World Cup events in shooting to be held in anti-gay countries. That sport is, according to our research, the most-represented on our list.


ISSF World Cup Shotgun Morocco
Rabat, Morocco
The penalty for homosexuality in Morocco is up to five years imprisonment with hard labor and fines.

ISSF World Cup Shotgun Qatar
Doha, Qatar
The ISSF heads to Qatar for another World Cup event.

World Judo Championships
Doha, Qatar
The World Judo Championships will be held in Qatar following the nation’s hosting of the FIFA World Cup.

Wheelchair Basketball World Championships
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
The Championships were postponed from 2022 due to the FIFA World Cup in Qatar. While there are reports of a relaxed society in Dubai, homosexuality is still illegal, mostly pursued in relation to “public decency” charges.

AIBA Men’s World Boxing Championships
Tashkent, Uzbekistan
This will be the third time in a decade that the AIBA World Boxing Championships have taken place in a country with problematic LGBT-rights issues, previously including Qatar and Russia.


FINA World Championships
Doha, Qatar
FINA follows in FIFA’s footsteps by holding a championship event in Qatar. The event will be held in February to steer clear of the Summer Olympics in Paris.


4th Summer Youth Olympic Games
Dakar, Senegal
The event was scheduled for 2022 but pushed back to 2026. Senegal has zero protections for LGBTQ people, and same-sex sexual activity carries a punishment of up to 5 years in prison.

If there are any other world cup or world championships that should be on the list, please let us know in the comments or email [email protected].