Nasser Al Khater The organizer of the 2022 World Cup is ready to welcome homosexuals to Qatar.

After Josh Cav­al­lo, who became the world’s only open­ly gay top pro­fes­sion­al foot­baller when he left last month, expressed safe­ty con­cerns over his par­tic­i­pa­tion in the FIFA World Cup next year in Qatar, the head of the tour­na­ment assured that the play­er from Ade­laide would be wel­comed in the country.

Ille­gal in Qatar, homo­sex­u­al­i­ty is pun­ish­able by flog­ging, impris­on­ment and even exe­cu­tion. Tour­na­ment orga­niz­er Nass­er Al Khater, how­ev­er, said Qatar was like any oth­er soci­ety in the world and assured that “no one felt threat­ened here”.

Speak­ing to CNN, Al Khater said: “We wel­come him here to the state of Qatar, we wel­come him to come and see him, even before the World Cup. Nobody feels threat­ened here, no one feels in dan­ger here. “I think, unfor­tu­nate­ly, maybe he has that per­cep­tion because of read­ing a lot of these accu­sa­tions or read­ing a lot of these reports that cast a neg­a­tive light. Qatar is like any oth­er soci­ety in this world. Every­one is welcome.

Al Khater insist­ed that there was noth­ing to wor­ry about oth­er than a pub­lic dis­play of affec­tion. “Look, pub­lic dis­plays of affec­tion are frowned upon, and it goes on every lev­el — on every lev­el. Qatar is a mod­est coun­try. That’s all you have to respect. Oth­er than that, every­one is free to live their life. “They [gay peo­ple] will come to Qatar as fans of a foot­ball tour­na­ment. They can do any­thing any oth­er human being would do. What I’m say­ing is that Qatar, from a pub­lic dis­play of affec­tion stand­point, is conservative.

Al Khater agreed that the World Cup could be used as a plat­form to protest against Qatar, but said it was not a con­cern for the orga­niz­er “All the sce­nar­ios are open and all the sce­nar­ios are on the table,” he said. “Are we wor­ried about this? No, I would­n’t say that wor­ries us ”.

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