English Football Association chief executive Mark Bullingham says he has been told LGBTQ+ fans will not be arrested for holding hands or kissing in public at the World Cup in Qatar.
The LGBTQ+ community raised concerns about how safe they will be at the tournament from November to December, as same-sex sexual activity is illegal in the Gulf state.
Some LGBTQ+ English fans are reportedly staying away from the World Cup because they haven’t been given proper safeguards.
But Bullingham revealed on Wednesday that he has been told that the police in Qatar must be tolerant during the tournament.
Asked if the FA had planned the scenario of an England fan being arrested for holding hands or kissing a same-sex couple in public, Bullingham said: “We have been putting those questions to the Qatari authorities for the last six months.”
“We’ve been given absolutely all the right answers for everything we’ve talked about, even to the point of ‘Are rainbow flags allowed?’
“Yes, absolutely (they are allowed) as long as someone doesn’t go and cover them outside a mosque, that was an example that they gave us, and they were disrespectful in that way.
“But absolutely they have been briefed to be very tolerant and act in the right way. Anytime we ask a direct question, we tend to get an answer.”
Despite those assurances, FA bosses are still seeking further details from the local organizing committee that all fans, including those from the LGBTQ+ community, will be safe in Qatar.
The FA has joined nine other European FAs in joining the ‘OneLove’ anti-discrimination campaign.
England captain Harry Kane will wear a rainbow armband to support the campaign at the World Cup.
“As captains, we can all compete with each other on the field, but we stand united against all forms of discrimination,” Kane said.
“This is even more relevant at a time when division is common in society. Wearing the bracelet together on behalf of our teams will send a clear message when the world is watching.”
Bullingham said the FA is also pressing FIFA for an update on a compensation scheme for migrant workers in Qatar and the creation of a center to help such workers access support.
“We continue to push for the principle of compensation for the families of migrant workers who have lost their lives or been injured on construction projects,” he said.
“Again, we are pressing FIFA to update the compensation fund, which has been constantly mentioned as a safety net where workers and their families have not been able to get compensation from construction companies.”