These London pubs are boycotting showing the World Cup over Qatar’s human rights record

Qatar World Cup boots human rights concerns into the global field

Several bars and pubs across London will not televise the Qatar World Cup – for reasons previously overshadowed by the football frenzy. 

For some, this will be unusual to hear. Particularly for devout football fans, their favourite sporting event has returned. The FIFA World Cup held at Al Bayt Stadium in Qatar starts on November 20th, where the host will battle against Ecuador in Group A. 

This particular tournament is met with growing hostility amongst bars and pubs in London. Such views result from Qatar’s treatment of millions of migrant workers that were needed to build the relevant infrastructure for the Cup. All of eight stadiums, new transport lines, an airport expansion and countless hotels were required to accommodate the 1.2 million expected global visitors.

Figures show that approximately 30,000 migrant workers helped to build the stadiums alone – many of them hailing from India, Bangladesh, Nepal and the Philippines. Regarding the larger construction process, figures from the International Labour Organisation (ILO) reveal that 50 of such workers died in 2020 and 37,600 endured mild to moderate injuries due to construction-related work. 

Nonetheless, fans and bar owners are left questioning whether they should support the matches upon revelations of such truths.

John Sizzle, 54, co-owner of London-based bar Co-owner of The Glory, London, said: “It’s disappointing that human rights haven’t been considered when putting on an event as big as this one.

“It is extremely problematic. We showed the women’s Euros here because that was really celebratory, but we wouldn’t want to make money from this World Cup.

“Of course we will listen to our customers and if there is demand for it and it’s a celebration then we will put it on but, based on what I’ve seen so far, there won’t be interest.”

He added that making money from the tournament in The Glory, an LGBT safe space, seems wrong considering Qatar’s blatant violations of LGBT rights.

John continued: “Unless the English team somehow makes some sort of statement about why they’re there, and if they publicly support queer rights and that sort of thing and try and make a change by being there then maybe we will watch it.

“Football already has a bad reputation when it comes to problematic behaviour and lack of out gay players. So for us football is tricky, it’s a lot more than just where it’s held and the politics of the country it’s about the whole element of the sport as a whole – it is due reform.”

The George and Dragon pub in Greenwich is equally refusing to televise the Cup. 

This comes as controversy heightened when the UK foreign secretary, James Cleverly, previously told LGBT football fans travelling to Qatar to be “respectful of the host nation”. Hearing this was a shock to many, given the legal difficulties that LGBT members face due to Qatar’s ban on same-sex relations in the 2004 Penal Code. 

It will soon become clear how the rest of London will react once the games begin on Sunday.

Featured image via Google maps.

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