The Football Association (FA) has assured LGBTQ+ fans that they will not face arrest for kissing or holding hands in public at the World Cup in Qatar.

The tournament has been marred with controversy since it was announced that it would take place in the Gulf state, where homosexuality is illegal and the LGBTQ+ community is subjected to discriminatory laws.

Amnesty International also released a 48-page report which concluded that certain harmful practices still take place in Qatar, such as withholding migrant workers’ pay and charging them money to move jobs – something the government there has denied.

However, FA chief executive Mark Bullingham has now stated that police in the country have been briefed on being tolerant when the tournament takes place.

When asked whether or not the governing body had considered the issues LGBTQ+ fans could face in Qatar if they kiss or hold hands in public, Bullingham said: “We have been asking those questions of the Qatari authorities over the last six months.

“They have absolutely told us all the right answers for anything we’ve talked about, even down to the point of ‘are rainbow flags allowed?’

“Yes, absolutely (they are allowed) as long as someone doesn’t go and drape them on the outside of a mosque – that was one example we were given – and were disrespectful in that way.

“But they have absolutely been briefed to be very tolerant and act in the right way. Any time we ask a direct question we tend to get an answer.”

The FA is continuing to request more detail on these assurances to ensure all fans will be safe and welcome, should they wish to visit the World Cup.

The news comes after it was announced that England captain Harry Kane will wear an armband supporting the OneLove anti-discrimination campaign at the finals this year.

“As captains we may all be competing against each other on the pitch, but we stand together against all forms of discrimination,” he said.

“This is even more relevant at a time when division is common in society. Wearing the armband together on behalf of our teams will send a clear message when the world is watching.”

The 2022 FIFA World Cup will take place from 20 November – 18 December this year.