World Cup hosts Qatar caught in gay rights storm after homophobic comments screened by official tournament broadcaster

WORLD CUP hosts Qatar were again caught in a gay rights storm after homophobic comments were screened by the official tournament broadcaster.

Former Egypt star Mohamed Aboutrika slammed the Premier League’s Rainbow Laces campaign and called on Muslim stars to boycott it.

Egyptian Mohamed Aboutrika, left, and Frederic Kanoute


Egyptian Mohamed Aboutrika, left, and Frederic KanouteCredit: Getty
The Premier League’s Rainbow Laces campaign


The Premier League’s Rainbow Laces campaignCredit: Alamy

Aboutrika, 43, was speaking on beIN Sport, the Prem’s Middle East broadcast partner which will also be in charge of production for Qatar 2022.

In comments that were unchallenged, Aboutrika suggested any campaign on behalf of the LGBTQ+ community was promoting “an unnatural sexuality” and a “dangerous ideology” and urged Muslims to “stand up” against it.

His comments provoked an angry backlash and saw beIN rush out a response to insist: “We represent, champion and support causes and interests of every single background and cultural heritage.”

But there was no apology and the issue of gay rights in Qatar was further brought into the frame as 2022 World Cup chief Nasser Al Khater was pushed on whether openly gay fans could be themselves in his country.

He claimed gay fans would be “welcomed” and would not feel “threatened or unsafe”.

Yet he added: “Homosexual people live in Qatar — but public displays of affection are frowned upon.”

The 2022 World Cup is set to start on November 21 and finish a month later on December 18.

Meanwhile, Bayern Munich’s Champions League clash with Barcelona next week will be behind closed doors amid fears over the new Covid variant.

Manchester City also face completing their group at Leipzig in front of empty stands — if the match goes ahead at all.

Bavaria PM Markus Soder said: “It makes no sense in the foreseeable future to admit supporters again.”

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