“I think with a bit of flexibility and compromise at both ends, it can be a safe, secure and exciting World Cup,” he added.
Critics said Cleverley, a member of the centre-right Conservatives and a supporter of same-sex marriage rights, was essentially asking LGBT fans to hide their identities in a country where homosexuality is a crime. Consensual sex between men is prohibited by Qatari law, which does not specifically prohibit sex between women, according to the US State Department. Sex between men is punishable by up to seven years in prison.
Qatar continues to mistreat LGBT people ahead of FIFA World Cup, rights group claims
Gary Lineker, former British national football team, tweeted: “Whatever you do, don’t do anything Gay. Is that the message?’
“Don’t be gay at the World Cup,” it said on Thursday Cover up of Metro, a British tabloid.
Lucy Powell, speaking for the opposition Labor Party on Sport and Culture, Named Cleverly’s comments are “shockingly tone deaf.” She called on the government to challenge FIFA “how they put fans in this position” instead of “protecting discriminatory values”.
Downing Street rebuked Cleverly’s comments, saying in a statement that people should not “compromise who they are,” according to the Associated Press.
Amid the criticism, Cleverley reiterated his stance, telling British broadcaster Sky News that “we have incredibly important partners in the Middle East” and that “it’s important when you’re a visitor to a country that you respect the culture of your country. host nation.”
Asked if he planned to attend the World Cup, which runs from November 20 to December 18, Cleverley said he would because “it’s an important international event” where there will be other interlocutors. He also had to be there to protect British passengers, he said.
Human Rights Watch said in a report Monday that arbitrary arrests and ill-treatment of LGBT people continued in Qatar until last month.
The Gulf country’s treatment of disadvantaged groups, such as migrant workers, has come under heavy scrutiny since winning the tournament’s hosting rights. Qatar’s leaders bristled at some of the criticism leveled at their country, claiming the attacks were from “people who cannot accept the idea of an Arab Muslim country hosting a tournament like the World Cup”.
Andrew Jeong contributed to this report.