Liverpool fans slam Qatar’s human rights record

Fans of Premier League leaders criticise list of rules they have to follow during FIFA Club World Cup next month in Qatar.

LONDON - Liverpool Football Club (LFC) fans vented their anger at Qatar and slammed its human rights record after the English Premiership club published a list of strict rules for fans attending the 2019 FIFA Club World Cup in the Gulf emirate next month.

LFC says on its website that visitors should familiarise themselves with local laws and customs prior to travel and be mindful that acceptable behaviours in the UK might be considered offensive in Doha.

Among the list of strict rules are: a conservative dress code, respect for the local culture and customs, no homosexual behaviour, no alcohol drinking in public and zero tolerance towards drugs.

Liverpool chief executive Peter Moore says that his club has been given assurances that LGBT fans will be welcomed in Qatar.

Homosexual acts are banned in Qatar but the European champions have undertaken extensive research and engaged in dialogue with the organisers and various groups to ensure there are no problems.

“Like most people I had an awareness of many of the issues that Qatar is facing but, as a club, we have gone to great lengths to not only understand them but more importantly engage with those with expertise in the field,” Moore told LFCTV.

"This has allowed us to take on the concerns that have been raised by supporters and others and, as a result, we have received a number of assurances from the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy in Qatar.

"We have sought and received assurances that our LGBT supporters will be welcome in Qatar, something that was vitally important to us as a club."

But Liverpool fans lashed out at Qatar for mixing football with its traditions and customs besides its human rights violations towards migrant workers.

“So Liverpool fans travelling to Qatar have been told by the club that women should cover their arms and legs, marriage certificates are required for couples and to avoid public affection since it could literally have you arrested. What a f****** disgrace,” tweeted LFC fan Daniel Robbo.

Clare Harrison, another LFC fan, criticised Qatar’s ‘terrible’ human rights record.

“I dont think we should go there humans rights are terrible, Harrison tweeted.

LFC supporters union Spirit Of Shankly raised urgent questions to the Qatar authorities ahead of the tournament.

“We had taken a particular stance a few years ago when the World Cup was announced in Qatar, primarily because of the workers’ rights issue and the subsequent deaths of migrant workers over there,” Joe Blott, chairman of Spirit of Shankly, told news website Joe.

“Many people have contacted us and said that there should be a boycott,” said Blott.

LFC supporter Jay McKenna wondered whether fans would be able to drink alcohol in Qatar, feel safe about their sexuality and enjoy the games the way they do it back home.

“Can they (fans) get a drink? Can they do all these things? What’s it going to mean for people who go there who might not feel safe because of their sexuality or because of their religion?,” asked McKenna.

“What about these people who built these stadiums?....but those stadiums are going to be left and they are going to be the graveyards of many workers,” he said.

Amnesty International said last September that Qatar was not fulfilling all its promises to improve the conditions of migrant workers in the country in the run-up to the 2022 World Cup.

In a report entitled "All Work, No Pay", the rights group said: "Despite the significant promises of reform which Qatar has made ahead of the 2022 World Cup, it remains a playground for unscrupulous employers."

The Amnesty report documents the plight of hundreds of workers at three construction and cleaning companies in Qatar who went unpaid for months.

"Migrant workers often go to Qatar in the hope of giving their families a better life; instead many people return home penniless after spending months chasing their wages, with too little help from the systems that are supposed to protect them," said Stephen Cockburn, Amnesty's deputy director of global issues.

Liverpool travel to Doha for a semi-final on December 18 and either a final or third-place play-off on December 21.