German football director Oliver Bierhoff has slammed Qatar over its treatment of the LGBTQ+ community.  

In November, football teams from around the world are set to compete in the highly-anticipated 2022 FIFA World Cup – which will be held in the Gulf region.

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

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

Back in November, openly gay footballer Josh Cavallo revealed that he was “scared” to play in the World Cup during an interview on The Guardian’s Today in Focus podcast.

“I read something along the lines of that [they] give the death penalty for gay people in Qatar, so it’s something I’m very scared [of] and wouldn’t really want to go to Qatar for that,” he said. 

With the event nearly four months away, another football professional has called out Qatar for its anti-LGBTQ+ laws.

On 12 June, the national team director of the German Football Federation, Oliver Bierhoff, described the country’s treatment of queer people as “completely unacceptable.” 

“It in no way corresponds to my views,” he told German Media group Funke, as reported by Goal.

Bierhoff then questioned the selection process regarding World Cup locations, stating: “What award criteria for a World Cup does FIFA actually apply?

“Because awarding a tournament is the sharpest sword to push for the necessary change.”

Towards the end of the interview, the football professional then expressed the importance of choosing a location with better “human rights issues.”

“This has to happen before the award and not after, otherwise, you have no leverage left to enforce it… the award criteria must be closely linked to human rights issues.” 

Even though World Cup officials have previously encouraged the LGBTQ+ community to attend, recent developments have revealed that the warm welcome may not be a universal sentiment.

Back in April, Major General Abdulaziz Abdullah Al Ansari revealed that rainbow flags might be confiscated during the event.

“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 told the Associated Press. 

“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.”

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