A pub owner has pledged to donate all the money he earns from the World Cup to an LGBTQ+ organization after being disgusted by ‘corrupt’ FIFA.
Outrage has been sparked by Qatar’s criminalization of homosexuality and the treatment of migrant workers.
But Lee Wells, owner of The Deck in Perranporth, Cornwall, said he was pushed to his limits by FIFA President Gianni Infantino’s bizarre speech.
Defending the tournament on Saturday, Mr Infantino said: “Today I feel Qatari. Today I feel Arab. Today I feel African. Today I feel gay. Today I feel gay. today, I feel handicapped.Today, I feel like a migrant worker.
“I know how it feels to be discriminated against…I was bullied because I had red hair.”
He went on to say “everyone is welcome” at the World Cup and “if you hear anyone say otherwise, that’s not the opinion of the country or FIFA”.
Lee says he is judging FIFA for its “shameful” actions and has promised to donate any profits he makes to Cornwall Pride.
In an impassioned Facebook post, he said: “I will be showing the World Cup at The Deck as I don’t want to punish my customers or my staff.” But the FIFA President’s press conference this morning [November 19] is the final straw.
“I will not be promoting it and all proceeds will go to Cornwall Pride. If you watch it at The Deck, expect to see rainbow flags next to English flags.
“I am not judging England, England fans or even Qatar. I am judging FIFA for its corrupt and disgusting decisions and opinions. They are a disgrace.
Lee’s stance comes as the English and Welsh football associations back down on their vow to let their captains wear OneLove armbands at the World Cup.
A spokesman for Cornwall Pride welcomed Mr Wells’ announcement, saying the offer was “completely unprecedented”.
“We share a huge thank you to the owner, staff and customers while seriously considering the morality of the World Cup in Qatar,” they said.
“This is a muted celebration as Cornwall Pride have joined Pride in London, Manchester Pride, Brighton and Hove Pride, Birmingham Pride and many Pride across the UK and Globe in boycotting and condemning one of the biggest sporting events taking place on our planet Qatar; a country where being part of the LGBTQ+ community is potentially subject to the death penalty among many other harrowing human rights issues.
The spokesperson went on to point out that Qatar’s World Cup ambassador Khalid Salman described homosexuality as “damaging to the mind” earlier this month.
They added: “At home, UK Foreign Secretary James Cleverly called for ‘flex and compromise’ as part of a wider statement aimed at gay fans who may consider attending.
‘This is unacceptable; safety is non-negotiable. Our only goal in this World Cup should be human rights for all.
Cornwall Pride encouraged others to think of ways to show their support for the LGBTQ+ community, whether they boycott the tournament or not.
“Remember that real lions celebrate their pride,” they said.
The English and Welsh football associations have been threatened with fines if they continue to wear OneLove armbands – which they say they are prepared to pay.
But they released a statement today saying a warning of penalties, including bookings for their captains, had forced them to change their minds.
He said: “We are very frustrated with FIFA’s decision which we believe is unprecedented – we wrote to FIFA in September informing them of our wish to wear the One Love armband to actively support inclusion. in football, and we got no response.”
“Our players and coaches are disappointed – they are strong believers in inclusion and will show their support in other ways.”
Contact our press team by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more stories like this, check out our news page.