Photo: Christopher Lee/Getty Images

Brian Swanson at a press conference on the eve of the start of the 2022 World Cup admitted that he is gay. According to him, in Qatar he feels comfortable and welcome.

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Photo: Christopher Lee/Getty Images

Brian Swanson, FIFA director of public relations, at the end of a press conference by FIFA head Gianni Infantino on the eve of the start of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, admitted to his homosexuality.

“I read a lot of criticism from the LGBT community about the World Cup in Qatar. But I want to say here, publicly, that as a gay I feel comfortable here, I feel welcome,” said Swanson, who hosted Infantino’s press conference.

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“I believe that everyone will be welcome at this World Cup. Just because Gianni Infantino is not gay doesn’t mean he doesn’t care. We talked about this with many people. I can safely say: we care about everyone, we are an inclusive legal entity, we have many gay colleagues. I respect different opinions. But I also know what we stand for,” Swanson added.

Prior to joining FIFA in 2021, Swanson was a Sky Sports reporter for 18 years.

Homosexual relations are prohibited by several laws in Qatar, and violations carry a prison sentence of one to ten years. “Danger Index”, compiled in 2021 for LGBT travelers, set Qatar in eighth place out of 150 possible. In 2019, the authors of this study generally put the country in second place in terms of danger – after Nigeria.

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At the end of June The Guardian wrotethat has not received from the government of Qatar, a conservative Muslim country, direct confirmation of guarantees of security and protection from persecution for LGBT people.

The organizing committee said that everyone is welcome in Qatar, regardless of their sexual orientation or origin, but at the same time warned against public displays of affection.

The final stage of the 2022 World Cup will be held from November 20 to December 18 at eight stadiums in five cities (Doha, Lusail, Al-Khaur, El-Wakra and Ar Rayyan).

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Photo: Marko Djurica / Reuters

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