Football World Cup in Qatar: Fan representative sees “great uncertainties”

PAs the person responsible for the German fan embassy at the World Cup, Hilipp Beitzel sees Qatar (November 20 to December 18) “major uncertainties” among supporters traveling to the emirate. “The Emir has indeed given the Home Secretary security guarantees for traveling fans, particularly in relation to LGBTIQ rights. On the other hand, they have not been published anywhere before,” said the 39-year-old officer at the Fan Projects Coordination Office (KOS) in Frankfurt/Main of the German Press Agency (dpa).

In addition, some regulations have been changed, for example the Covid regulations. You might think that would make getting there easier, says Beitzel. “But these are such short-term things that don’t exactly increase confidence in the organizers.” In principle, a World Cup atmosphere could already develop locally because fans from many nations come together. “But it’s questionable whether the general conditions are right, that an atmosphere develops that should actually make up a World Cup,” said Beitzel.

Most recently, the Qatari World Cup ambassador Khalid Salman caused outrage with his homophobic statements. In the ZDF documentary “Geheimsache Qatar”, the former national player described being gay as “mental damage”. Beitzel pointed out that the FIFA Posters are usually allowed in stadiums if they are not discriminatory: “If someone is pro-LGBTIQ rights, for example, or shows something in rainbow colors, it must be allowed under these rules. But there is uncertainty about what is happening in public space.”

Philipp Beitzel:

Philipp Beitzel: “It is questionable whether the general conditions are right overall”

Image: dpa

The English abbreviation LGBTIQ stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans people, intersex and queer people. An often used additional asterisk is a placeholder for further identities and genders.

The German fan embassy, ​​this time headed by Beitzel and Julia Zeyn, has already served as a point of contact for past tournaments, and not just for German fans. She can be reached around the clock and has a permanent contact point the day before the DFB selection game, on the day of the game and the day after. FIFA speaks of 35,000 World Cup tickets that have been sold to Germany. The KOS assumes that 7,000 to 9,000 people from Germany will come to the World Cup over the course of the tournament.

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