FIFA has threatened to sever ties with Qatar hotels over their anti-LGBTQ+ discrimination. 

In November, the highly-anticipated 2022 FIFA World Cup is set to take place in the Gulf state.

Since the news was announced, activists have expressed concerns over the tournament’s location due to the country’s strict anti-LGBTQ laws.

In Qatar, homosexuality is illegal and can be punished by penalties including flogging, imprisonment and even execution.

Even though World Cup officials have previously encouraged the LGBTQ+ community to attend the event, new information shows that the warm welcome may not be a universal sentiment.

According to a report from Norwegian Broadcaster NRK, Denmark’s DR, and Sweden’s SVT, a team of journalists discovered that some of the FIFA-approved hotels in Qatar were not accepting of LGBTQ+ individuals. 

During the investigation, the group posed as newlywed gay couples and asked for accommodations from 69 hotels in the region. 

As a result, three establishments refused to book the couples, while 20 other hotels offered accommodation on the condition that they hide their sexuality. 

However, 33 of the hotels had no issue booking rooms for the LGBTQ+ couples. 

In response to the eye-opening investigation, the FIFA organisation threatened to terminate its contracts.

“Hotels, as well as any other service provider associated with the FIFA World Cup, who fail to comply with the high standards set by the organisers, will have their contracts terminated,” the spokesperson said via The Telegraph.

“On top of that, the said requirements will continue to be reinforced in awareness-raising sessions and subsequently monitored and evaluated through audits and inspections of hotels linked to the FIFA World Cup.”

The news of Qatar hotels’ anti-LGBTQ+ behaviour comes a month after a country official revealed that rainbow flags might be confiscated during the highly-anticipated event.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Major General Abdulaziz Abdullah Al Ansari revealed that individuals with LGBTQ+ flags could be at risk of being attacked. 

“If he (a fan) raised the rainbow flag and I took it from him, it’s not because I really want to, really take it, to really insult him, but to protect him,” he explained. 

“Because if it’s not me, somebody else around him might attack (him)… I cannot guarantee the behaviour of the whole people. And I will tell him: ‘Please, no need to really raise that flag at this point.'” 

Al Ansari went on to say that LGBTQ+ fans should “demonstrate” their view in a society “where it will be accepted”.

“We realise that this man got the ticket, comes here to watch the game, not to demonstrate a political (act) or something which is in his mind,” he said. 

“Watch the game. That’s good. But don’t really come in and insult the whole society because of this.”