FIFA has threatened to cancel the contracts of hotels and other service providers in Qatar for this year’s World Cup that discriminate against gay people after an investigation revealed some had refused to allow same-sex couples to stay.
The survey conducted by Danish and Swedish media also found World Cup hotels had asked customers to modify their behaviour during their visit, including one insisting that patrons do not ‘dress gay’.
According to NRK, SVT in Sweden and DR in Denmark, three hotels refused to accept the reservation from a gay couple, with one suggesting it would be against hotel policy to do so.
Concerns have been raised over the safety of members of the LGBTQ+ fans at the tournament
LGBTQ+ supporter groups have joined forces to condemn FIFA and the Qatar World Cup Supreme Committee
A further 20 hotels advised the couple to modify their behaviour to avoid public displays of affection during their stay.
While thirty-three hotels on the recommended list for the World Cup, which opens in Qatar on November 21, accepted the male couple could book, the survey found one third did not or had concerns.
FIFA reportedly held crisis talks with Qatari organisations after the investigation was published.
In a statement, FIFA pledged to ‘ensure that the hotels mentioned are once again made aware of our strict requirements in relation to welcoming guests in a non-discriminatory manner’.
The investigation is the latest controversy surrounding the 2022 World Cup in Qatar
Questions have been raised about the welcome LGBTQ+ fans will receive in Qatar
‘Hotels, as well as any other service provider associated with the FIFA World Cup, who fail to comply with the high standards set by the organisers will have their contracts terminated,’ FIFA added in a statement to The Telegraph.
‘On top of that, the said requirements will continue to be reinforced in awareness raising sessions and subsequently monitored and evaluated through audits and inspections of hotels linked to the FIFA World Cup.’
Homosexuality is illegal in Qatar and according to Amnesty International, same-sex relationships can lead to criminal charges and a prison sentence of up to seven years.
It is one of the many controversies to have plagued the build-up to the World Cup in Qatar but FIFA President Gianni Infantino insisted that ‘all are welcome’ in the host country.
Infantino also urged LGBTQ fans and all others to attend the tournament and ‘engage and speak and convince’ in a bid to influence the Gulf Arab state’s policies at an event in November last year, as he switched on a World Cup countdown clock in Doha.
FIFA president Gianni Infantino has declared everyone is welcome at the World Cup in Qatar
Qatari authorities have been clear that LGBTQ+ people can book and share rooms during the tournament.
The survey of approved hotels was conducted at the end of March and the journalists did not specify a date for their honeymoon.
Reservations at World Cup hotels require a match ticket, so the researchers contacted the venues by email and telephone to enquire about hotel policy.
‘Among the hotels that have answered no, one has answered by email,’ NRK said.
‘The other two have answered the phone. In both cases where hotels have answered the phone, the person in question has conferred with colleagues/superiors before we have received an answer.’
A Qatar 2022 spokesperson told Sportsmail: ‘Everyone is welcome in Qatar, regardless of their race, background, religion, gender, sexual orientation or nationality. All fans should feel welcome to book accommodation with the knowledge that the private lives of individuals living or visiting Qatar are respected.
‘Qatar is a conservative country and public displays of affection are frowned upon across the board – regardless of sexual orientation. We simply ask for people to respect our cultural norms, but also emphasise the strong culture of respect for individual privacy which exists throughout Qatar.’
The Supreme Committee said it would be monitoring 100 hotels, which will accommodate teams and fans, to ensure they meet the standards of service agreed with FIFA.