Pubs boycott World Cup over LGBTQ+ rights in Qatar

By Amelie Maurice-Jones

- Last updated on GMT

Football boycott: Chester pubs choose not to broadcast World Cup (Getty/ DaveBolton)
Football boycott: Chester pubs choose not to broadcast World Cup (Getty/ DaveBolton)

Related tags Cheshire Events Social responsibility Sport

The Liverpool Arms and the Commercial Hotel & Bar in Chester, Cheshire will boycott the upcoming World Cup due to worries over LGBTQ+ rights in Qatar where being gay is illegal.

This comes after public backlash at the World Cup taking place in Qatar, where homosexuality is illegal, flogging is an acceptable form of punishment and 6,500 workers are said to have died while building stadiums in the Gulf state.

The operator of the Liverpool Arms said after “prolonged soul searching,” the Northgate Street pub had decided not to show any matches from the tournament.

In a statement, they said: “As Chester's LGBTQ+ bar, we are deeply concerned about the host nation's lack of LGBTQ+ rights which are well documented.

“We will not promote this event. However, we wish England and Wales every success in the tournament.”

Saying no to prejudice

The Commercial Hotel & Bar said it would also boycott the tournament due to country’s anti-LGBTQ+ laws. “We will never support any country nor links with such prejudice and ideas,” it commented.

The pubs' decisions have received an outpour of support on social media. One user said, “Well done to them for standing ground,” and another commented, “I will make an effort to pop in and buy a drink while the tournament is on.”

Another hoped other pubs and bars would follow suit.

Chester Pride said it “fully supported” the pubs decision. Chair Warren Lee Allmark commented: “The Liverpool Arms is a safe space for the LGBTQ+ community, and as they have highlighted Qatar has very poor treatment of LGBTQ+ people and poor human rights in general. To ‘welcome’ people of all backgrounds but suppress people is not welcoming people at all.”

Campaign backfires

This comes after Scottish business BrewDog​ came under fire for its anti-sponsorship campaign against the World Cup.

The brewery will donate all profits made from Lost Lager sold during the World Cup to causes fighting for human rights abuses. “We’re proud to be launching BrewDog as an anti-sponsor of the World F*Cup,” a statement on the company’s Twitter said. “To be clear, we love football, we just don’t love corruption, abuse and death.” 

However, BrewDog came under fire for still showing the tournament in its sites. “Isn’t that just supporting them?” one Twitter user asks, with many calling for the brewery to not show the games. 

What’s more, the campaign was also labelled “disingenuous considering the “culture of fear”, detailed in an open letter by BrewDog former employees​​, who demanded an apology. 

Unite Hospitality said while the treatment of workers in Qatar was a scandal, BrewDog had the cheek to comment considering their own workers claimed to have been harassed, assaulted, belittled, insulted or gaslight in the workplace. 

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