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Miriam Margolyes calls for football World Cup 2030 to be in LGBTQ+ friendly country

Miriam Margolyes wants to convince “the lovely, open minded, honest people who run football” to hold the football world cup in a country that welcomes LGBTQ+ people

miriam Margolyes launches The Big Gay “Donation” to raise funds for LGBTQ+ charity Stonewall. Image: Stonewall

Among the many controversies surrounding this year’s Fifa World Cup in Qatar, the treatment of LGBTQ+ people in the host nation has angered millions around the world. Now gay icon Miriam Margolyes is fronting a campaign to make sure queer people and allies can support future world cups with a clear conscience.

“Queer people, like me, across the globe we love football,” Margolyes says in a new video shared online as part of a campaign with LGBTQ+ charity Stonewall. “We just can’t support it like everyone else, because the World Cup is currently being held in Qatar – and we all know how Qatar feels about the gays.

“But if that wasn’t a big enough kick in the tits, the 2030 World Cup could be given to another host nation that criminalises LGBTQ+ people, judging by the countries currently bidding for it.”

Confirmed bids for the men’s 2030 competition include countries such as Saudi Arabia and Paraguay, where homosexuality is illegal.

 “Where are we holding the 2030 World Cup? And how much do you want?” the outspoken actress asks down the phone in the new video.

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With homosexuality illegal in Qatar and punishable with three years in prison, football fans have felt conflicted on how to enjoy the beautiful game while being an ally to gay, lesbian, bisexual and trans people. Fans travelling to the games have had to hide their true selves, while LGBTQ+ people in the country face ongoing marginalisation. 

The efforts of national teams in Qatar, including England, to protest with a rainbow captain’s armband were scuppered by Fifa, who also ordered Belgium to replace the word “love” from the inside of its shirts.

“It’s our big gay duty to make sure this doesn’t happen again,” Margolyes continues. “After all, a World Cup without queer people just isn’t a World Cup. 

“If you’re a great big gay and you love football like me, or if you love football and also gays, please donate whatever you can to try get those naughty boys who run football to listen.” 

A corruption scandal rocked the footballing world in 2015 as Fifa officials around the world were accused of taking bribes, including allegations around the world cup in Qatar.

So Margolyes is calling for a donation “so big, and so gay, it can convince the lovely, open minded, honest people who run football to hold the 2030 World Cup in an LGBTQ+ friendly host nation”.

Given the likelihood that “people in charge of football” won’t accept this big gay donation, Margolyes reveals the donations will be going to Stonewall, so that the charity can help LGBTQ+ people all over the world, including in Qatar. 

For almost a decade Stonewall has campaigned for more LGBTQ+ visibility in football, with it’s iconic rainbow laces becoming a symbol of inclusion across sport. While acceptance of gay players has come a long way, there are still very few publicly LGBTQ+ players in the sport.

Blackpool player Jake Daniels came out as gay earlier this year, making him the first male major league footballer  in the UK to do so since 1990.

Stonewall’s Liz Ward, director of programmes said: “All LGBTQ+ people deserve to live their lives to the full, to travel freely without fear, and to be part of global sporting events like the World Cup.

“LGBTQ+ rights are human rights, and we won’t stand for the persecution of LGBTQ+ people in Qatar, or anywhere else.

“Thank you to Miriam Margolyes and to everyone that is taking a stand for LGBTQ+ inclusion and freedom.”

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