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FIFA celebrates Pride, months before holding World Cup where being gay is illegal

FIFA is all rainbows this month, but in the fall its premier event is in Qatar, where homosexuality is against the law.

Allianz Arena Illuminated In Rainbow Colors
Allianz Arena in Munich is lit up for Pride Month.
Photo by Marco Kost/Getty Images

Item: FIFA, soccer’s governing board has its Twitter logo decked out in LGBTQ rainbow colors for Pride Month.

It tweeted out this:

Pride Month during June is a celebration for the LGBTQIA+ community. Today has also been one of celebration at the Home of FIFA.

Find out more, as well as how FIFA is working to ensure the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, will be a celebration of unity and diversity.

Item: FIFA is holding the 2022 World Cup from Nov. 21 to Dec. 18 in Qatar, where homosexuality is illegal, with imprisonment of up to three years in prison and the possibility of the death penalty (“Penalties vary in Qatar, with the maximum being stoning to death.”).

Item: Same-sex marriage is illegal in Qatar.

Item: The private publishing partner of The New York Times, Dar Al Sharq, has repeatedly removed articles in the international print edition of The New York Times published in Qatar related to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender rights, Human Rights Watch reports.

Item: Changing genders is illegal in Qatar.

Item: LGBTQ people can’t adopt children or serve in the military in Qatar.

Item: “Some of the Welsh national football team’s staff will not travel to the World Cup in Qatar because of the country’s stance on gay rights,” the BBC reported.

“Head of Welsh football Noel Mooney said the team would use the event as a ‘platform’ to discuss human rights in Qatar, where homosexuality is illegal.”

“He is also asking FIFA and UEFA to ‘think very deeply about their conscience’ when choosing host nations.’”

Item: Qatar might confiscate any rainbow Pride flags flown at World Cup stadiums, a leading security official said, saying it was for the safety of LGBTQ fans.

“If he [a fan] raised the rainbow flag and I took it from him, it’s not because I really want to, really, take it, to really insult him, but to protect him,” Major General Abdulaziz Abdullah Al Ansari told the AP. “Because if it’s not me, somebody else around him might attack (him) ... I cannot guarantee the behavior of the whole people. And I will tell him: ‘Please, no need to really raise that flag at this point.’”

Item: “Hotels on the official list of recommended accommodation for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar are required to welcome guests in a “non-discriminatory manner” or face termination of contracts, FIFA has said,” the Guardian reports.

“A Scandinavian media survey showed that three of the 69 hotels on FIFA’s official list of recommended accommodation will deny entry to same-sex couples. Twenty other hotels said they would accommodate them as long as they did not publicly show that they were gay, and 33 hotels had no problem with booking same-sex couples.”

Verdict: It seems as if every company, sports team and league at some level “celebrates” Pride Month and most of them are welcome or benign. Then there are those like the U.S. Marines, who tweeted out a photo of rainbow-colored bullets, as if being shot by a bullet in a nice lavender tone would hurt less while also being inclusive.

But FIFA wins the award for the most hollow Pride message, when in just five months it will hold its premier event in a country openly hostile to LGBTQ people and where in the extreme someone can be stoned to death. Happy Pride!