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Gay non league manager ‘does not believe’ in Qatar World Cup

Gay non league manager Cristian Colas says he ‘does not believe’ in the upcoming 2022 Qatar World Cup in an interview in October.

The head coach spoke to BBC’s Non-League Show, claiming he will not follow the tournament in Qatar because of the country’s human rights record.

Cristian Colas, of Biggleswade United, adds FIFA were wrong to award the tournament to Qatar in 2010, with it getting underway on the 20th of November when the hosts take on Ecuador, and finishes with the final on the 18th of December.

“I don’t believe in this tournament. That’s a shame, but it’s what I think,” Colas said.

“[I am] showing respect to everyone that will watch, in the same way that I hope everyone understands why I’m not watching it and why I have been so vocal about it.

“It’s not only with the country, it’s also with the organisation – Fifa selected Qatar knowing what has been happening.”

Homosexuality is still be punishable by death in Qatar, leading to the country being criticised for its treatment towards migrant workers, who helped build the stadiums and other infrastructure.

A report by the Guardian in 2021 estimates around 6,500 migrant workers had lost their life in Qatar since the World Cup was awarded.

Mohammed Al-Attiyah, the country’s ambassador to the UK, said: “We’re not asking anybody to change who they are, all we’re saying is that in life you respect others to respect your own values and norms in cultures.

“We don’t discriminate, nobody is going to be asked at any checkpoints to prove their gender or sexuality.”

However, Biggleswade United boss Cristian Colas said: “Everyone is saying how the World Cup will change things in Qatar – we will see.

“Not only for the LBGTQ+ rights, but women’s rights and human rights – it’s a disgrace what has been happening since Fifa selected Qatar as hosting the World Cup.”

England revealed that Harry Kane would be among a number of captains wearing OneLove armbands throughout the World Cup showing solidarity.

Colas, who is in his second spell with the South Midlands League Premier Division club and has also coached in various countries such as Spain and Finland, said: “It’s only a personal opinion, if someone wants to watch it, feel free and I hope they enjoy it.

“If England or Spain win the World Cup, fair enough. I’m not against people who watch it, it’s just that I don’t believe at all in this organisation. I don’t want to be part of it.”

Colas tells the Non-League Show that the situation regarding to Qatar World Cup had pushed him to open up about his own sexuality on the BBC’s LGBT podcast just this month.

“If someone thinks I can be a support, I am completely open for that,” he added.

“The reactions [to the podcast] have been wonderful. I was not expecting to be overwhelmed, which is what I felt after the interview came up.

“I’m not someone who likes to be the flagship or [self] promote. On one hand, it’s so sad that we still have to have this kind of activism to explain our experience. On the other hand, people have shown me how it could help.

“I just like to open another window, another door, the game can involve absolutely everyone. It doesn’t matter, religion, colour or sexual orientation. We are part of the game that we love.”

In a Twitter thread, Cristian Colás explains more about his decision.

“I’ve made the personal decision of ❌not watching, nor tweeting nor interacting with nothing related to #QatarWorldCup2022. It’s based on the amount of things that I have been able to know and inform myself about.

First, because of the large number of workers (migrants!) who have lost their lives. A higher number than what is published. People in deplorable conditions who have been building all the facilities (stadiums, hotels, airports) where the WC will be played.

“Also because the ones that survived working in these gruelling conditions, with their passports confiscated, have been deported for claiming their unpaid wages (already subjects to punitive and illegal wage deductions).

“Human rights ❌, workers’ rights❌,… the point about the non-guarantee of the LGBQT+ collective (to which I openly and proudly belong). The fact that homosexuality is illegal in Qatar (death penalty!) and FIFA cannot guarantee nothing at all.

“Women Rights ❌… Even female fans will be prosecuted if they report to be rape victims!!

“Also, for the memory of Marc Bennett and his detention and ‘suspicious’ suicide after he told he was leaving Qatar to work for a rival Saudi-owned company.

“And for the shame of all the stupid sportswashing from brands, sponsors, personalities and organizations. Money can buy absolutely everything. 🤮

“And please, put aside campaigns like ‘One Love’. The rights of people are not represented nor defended with a colored heart. They must be respected and defended with facts.

“Don’t use the power of football to be a force for good. Because in this case, it isn’t. I understand football is a business, but not everything related must be allowed.

“And if you want to know more, just dig in. You will find plenty of stuff about. And from there, make your own decision. Mine is clear. I love this game but never if it’s linked to an atrocious movement from head to toes, like that. So, for me football will be back after 18th Dec.

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