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Labour expected to snub Qatar World Cup

The party has signalled that it will snub the tournament, citing the treatment of construction workers and LGBT people in Qatar.

15 October 2022

Labour is expected to snub the World Cup in Qatar later this year, with one member of Sir Keir Starmer’s top team citing concerns over the treatment of construction workers and the criminalisation of same-sex relationships.

Away from the football pitch, the build-up to the international tournament has seen human rights groups scrutinising Qatar’s treatment of local workers, while concerns have also been expressed about the welcome LGBT fans will receive while over there for the competition.

Qatar World Cup organisers have stressed all supporters will be welcome in the country, but public displays of affection even between heterosexual couples are not part of the local culture.

Labour Party Conference 2022
Shadow culture secretary Lucy Powell (Peter Byrne/PA)

England and Wales have both qualified for the tournament, and will play each other in Group B.

It is understood that Labour is not planning to send any kind of delegation to the games and will not be formally represented in Qatar.

It would normally be expected that some form of Labour representation would be present at such an event.

The Mail on Sunday first reported that Lucy Powell, the party’s shadow culture and sport secretary, received an invitation from the Qatari government but turned it down.

Ms Powell said: “Of course I am looking forward to the World Cup and I’ll be cheering England on.

“But we cannot avert our eyes from the problems in Qatar.

“Dozens of construction workers have been killed putting this tournament on.

“And LGBT England and Wales fans are having to put up with the tournament being played in a country where their sexuality is criminalised.

“I’m excited to cheer on the England team from my sitting room and from my local pub.”

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