FACT CHECK: Did A ‘Qatari Spokesperson’ Say Displaying A LGBTQ Flag At The World Cup Is Punishable With Prison Time?

Anna Mock | Fact Check Reporter

A post shared on Facebook claims a “Qatari spokesperson” said displaying an LGBTQ flag at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar is punishable by up to 11 years in prison. 

Verdict: False

The claim is fabricated. There is no evidence that any Qatari authority said displaying LGBTQ flags at the Qatar World Cup is punishable by incarceration.

Fact Check:

The 2022 FIFA World Cup is scheduled to begin in Qatar in November, according to the organization’s website. A Facebook post claims that a “Qatari spokesperson” said that displaying an LGBTQ flag at the event is punishable with anywhere from seven to 11 years of incarceration.

“Qatar spokesperson: ‘whoever lift the LGBTQ flag in the world cup, will be arrested for 7 or 11 years, we’re here in an Islamic country you should respect our religion, beliefs and culture,'” the post’s caption reads.

This claim is fabricated. A search of the Qatar World Cup’s official website shows no results regarding the LGBTQ flag. There is likewise no mention of such a policy on the tournament’s verified Twitter, Facebook or Instagram accounts. Check Your Fact found no credible news reports to corroborate the viral claim. (RELATED: Did FIFA Announce A Plan To Extend World Cup Matches In Qatar By 10 Minutes?)

A FIFA spokesperson told The Associated Press in 2020 that rainbow flags and shirts are welcome in the stadium. However, a security official for the tournament told the outlet in April that rainbow flags may be confiscated from fans in order to “protect them from being attacked.” Same-sex relations are criminalized in Qatar, the outlet reports.

Check Your Fact has reached out to the Qatar Supreme Committee for comment and will update this piece accordingly if one is received. 

Anna Mock

Fact Check Reporter