The owners of a Birmingham pub will donate 10% of the venue’s bar take on World Cup match days to an LGBTQ+ charity as a show of support for the community.
The Hare and Hounds in Kings Heath will also be encouraging members of the public to voluntarily donate £2 on the door.
Comments made by former Qatari footballer Khalid Salman and ambassador for the World Cup in Qatar, which described homosexuality as “damage in the mind”, triggered this response from the pub owners.
In World Cup host nation Qatar, it is illegal to be homosexual and anyone found participating in same-sex sexual activity can be punished with up to seven years in prison.
Adam Regan, 51, co-owner of the Hare and Hounds, told the PA news agency: “The LGBT community is a huge part of what we do here and we wanted to show support and solidarity, but also with football fans, who want to watch the game, so this felt like a really good compromise.
“It’s going to raise money, raise awareness, and show that we stand fully with the people that are getting their human rights taken away from them in Qatar.”
Mr Regan said the comments made by the ambassador “shocked a lot of people” and “it started to sit very uncomfortably”.
Posting on Facebook, the group of owners said the “appalling attitude towards the LGBTQ+ community and the blatant disregard for human rights present in Qatar” created “a dilemma” for them and made them consider boycotting showing the games before deciding instead to raise money for a local charity.
The post ended with: “LGBTQ+ rights are human rights, and we yearn for the day that Qataris can live freely and without fear.”
Mr Regan hopes that this move will achieve “something more positive whilst still showing the games.”
This move has an received an “overwhelming amount of support” from members of the local community and has been shared on social media.
Mr Regan said: “Hopefully it will maybe make other people think about how they want to approach this tournament because I think a lot of people are feeling a bit conflicted about it.
“Not everybody is going to feel comfortable donating something at the bar, but even a voluntary donation on the door could help.
“All the money over the tournament won’t be huge, but it will certainly contribute towards a local LGBT charity and it will raise awareness and it will show that people are showing solidarity.”