The Gay Professional Network (GPN) has held a cross-industry meeting to discuss the issues and discrimination that will be faced by LGBT employees of businesses working on contracts for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.We have become aware of UK professionals being discriminated against, directly and indirectly, as a result of their employers undertaking work on the World Cup. As part of investigations we have discovered that Qatar is in contravention of FIFA rules.
The 2022 FIFA World Cup is the first global sporting event in our generation to be held in a country in which homosexuality is illegal. Same-sex activity in Qatar is punishable by up to three years imprisonment. LGBT people being sent by employers to Qatar are under threat and need to hide their identities to prevent arrest.Furthermore, 2022 will be the most expensive FIFA event ever. For reference, the 2014 World Cup in Brazil cost just $15bn, and the 2018 Russia World Cup cost $14bn. But with over $200bn being spent by the Qatari government on preparations for 2022, British businesses are playing a leading role in fulfilling contracts for the building of stadia and infrastructure for the World Cup on a scale never seen before.However, because of the legal problems faced by LGBT people in the country, UK businesses are keeping their LGBT employees away from lucrative Qatari contacts. With employees who successfully work on the numerous Qatari contracts available to UK businesses likely to be in line for promotions and major financial reward, this is a major discrimination against the LGBT community both professionally and contravenes the Equality Act 2010.
Concern was also expressed at the meeting over the safety of employees and supporters in such a hostile country, particularly those who are HIV+ or are taking Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) or Post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) medication.
GPN calls on all UK companies to cease working on FIFA 2022 projects in Qatar until Qatar annuls its anti-LGBT laws and guarantees to give all those working on FIFA-related projects all the legal and personal protection needed. We call on UK companies to send nobody, LGBT or straight, to Qatar. Even sending straight people could be considered discrimination under UK law.
We call on Qatar to issue a clear, strong, public reassurance that anyone working on a FIFA project will be legally protected, and their rights as LGBT people will not be violated.We also call on FIFA to implement its own statues, which prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation, and threaten Qatar with expulsion.We also call upon the UK government to make urgent appeals to Qatar to guarantee that LGBT people from Britain will be immune from prosecution, and that a public reassurance is received from the Qatari government.
With questions currently being raised over the legitimacy of the award process, we call on FIFA and the UK authorities to investigate the award process and the assurances given by Qatar to FIFA to protect the LGBT community that are not being met.