Gay people will be treated similar to beer at the Qatar World Cup in 2022.
Salah bin Ghanem bin Nasser al-Ali, the country’s sports minister, compared gay fans and footballers who wanted to travel to the soccer tournament.
Alcohol is partially banned in the Arabic country, but is sometimes punished with flogging. Both male and female homosexuality is punishable with flogging and imprisonment of up to five years.
Al-Ali, when asked by the Associated Press, said the country will find ‘creative’ ways that beer could be sold.
But when asked how gay people will be welcomed, he said: ‘It’s exactly like the alcohol question."
He said Qatar doesn’t want to create ‘this impression, illusion that we don’t care about our tradition and our ethical values … We are studying all these issues.
‘We can adapt, we can be creative to have people coming and enjoying the games without losing the essence of our culture and respecting the preference of the people coming here. I think there is a lot we can do.’
The sports minister added: ‘I think we can be creative, finding solutions for all of this. But we respect all the rules and regulations.’
FIFA has been met with a huge amount of controversy for choosing Qatar as a host nation. When head of FIFA Sepp Blatter was asked about a possible solution in 2010, he said gay people could avoid trouble by not having sex in Qatar.
Richard de Mos, a member of Dutch parliament, has proposed the Dutch football team play in pink instead of the country’s normal colors, orange, to protest the gay rights situation.
Qatar in 2022 will be preceded by the next World Cup in Russia in 2018, another country not exactly known for its embracing of LGBTI people.