The World Cup kicked off yesterday (Sunday 20 November) and will span until 18 December, with England’s first match taking place today (Monday 21 November). It was controversially awarded to Qatar 12 years ago and disquiet has grown in recent months due to the country’s treatment of migrant workers, LGBTQ+ people and women.
For each transaction at both Lucky Penny Group venues, customers will be given the option of adding £1 to their bill during the tournament. All proceeds, which will be topped up by the operator, will be given to Amnesty International.
The bigger picture
Lucky Penny Group financial director Josh Moore said: “I’m a massive football fan and being half Italian it’s in the blood. It’s easy to become excited about the World Cup, it comes around only once every four years and it’s a special festival of sport and we have installed screens in our venues for the first time to show all the World Cup games. But you can’t be tone deaf to the wider situation.
“This time much of the buildup has been as much about the host country’s human rights record, its treatment of the LGBTQ+ community, of women and of migrant workers’ pay and conditions, as the football tournament itself.
“While we are well aware that you can’t just ‘offset’ human rights or people’s lives, you can try and do something, and we’d like our customers who visit to watch and enjoy the World Cup to join us in contributing to Amnesty International who do so much to highlight abuses and campaign for human rights across the world.”
Choosing to boycott
The Liverpool Arms and the Commercial Hotel & Bar in Chester, Cheshire, will also boycott the tournament due to worries over LGBTQ+ rights in Qatar. The Mustard Pot in Leeds also reversed its decision to broadcast the World Cup after selling more than 70 tickets.
Lucky Penny Group managing director Steven Burgess said the sites were expecting “many visitors” during the tournament, and while the company wanted them to enjoy the games, it felt it needed to remind everyone there were wider issues at stake than football glory.
He continued: "We cannot forget those that have suffered as Qatar has prepared for the World Cup as well as those who are still discriminated against.
“The pursuit of fair treatment for all and compensation for migrant workers' families by Amnesty International and other organisations needs support to ensure it succeeds and resonates around the world for years to come."