Leeds pubs scrap FIFA World Cup 2022 coverage over Qatar's human rights record

England fans watching a game in a pub
A growing number of venues are taking a stance over concerns about Qatar. Credit: PA

A growing number of pubs in Leeds have reversed the decision to show World Cup matches amid concerns about host country Qatar's human rights record.

The Key Club, Belgrave Music Hall, Headrow House and The Mustard Pot have all cancelled screenings, citing Qatar's attitude to people from the LGBTQ+ community and its treatment of migrant workers.

The Mustard Pot, in Chapel Allerton, posted on its Facebook page apologising that it had originally planned to screen games.

Landlady Nicola Moxham said: "I made the wrong decision to show the World Cup and I am sorry.

"I hadn’t put enough thought into it as I should have done and looking into it more it’s clear we should not be showing it."

She added that all tickets had been refunded and said she was "sorry to anyone offended" by the announcement the pub would be showing games.

Concerns about Qatar

The announcement was met with many positive comments. One user, David Jones, said: "You are a class act. I am deeply moved to see a businessperson turn their back on easy revenue as a matter of principle and out of respect for their customers."

Sarah Duncan also commented: "Wow, I'll make a point of coming in for a drink. Very impressed."

Belgrave Music Hall and Headrow House, which are owned by the same company, posted a statement on social media saying screenings had been cancelled.

They said: "We intended to offer a safe, welcoming space for those wanting to watch the matches but with the ongoing LGBTQIA+ and human rights issues surrounding the event, we now understand this is a contradiction to the values we hold as a venue."

Both Belgrave Music Hall and Headrow House said they would fundraise throughout the World Cup for Yorkshire Mesmac - a sexual health organisation which works closely with members of the LGBTQ+ community.

The Key Club posted a similar statement to social media, announcing it would no longer be showing the matches.

It said it would collect donations for LGBTQ+ charities "as an additional mark of support".

The action comes after growing public criticism over the host country Qatar, where LGBTQ+ people face criminal punishments.

Qatar has also come under fire for their treatment of migrant workers after thousands of workers allegedly died while building the stadiums being used for the tournament.

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