The French sports minister has “passed on a certain number of messages” on sensitive subjects in Qatar, after watching France beat England in the World Cup yesterday (December 10).
Amélie Oudéa-Castéra wore a blue shirt with rainbow sleeves at the match last night, in an apparent subtle nod to LGBTQ+ rights. The rainbow is widely seen as a symbol of LGBTQ+ pride.
The minister was present at the match yesterday, where the Bleus beat the Three Lions 2-1 in Doha.
#Mondial En tribune au #Qatar pour le match France - Angleterre, la ministre des Sports française Amélie Oudéa-Castera @AOC1978 nous a fait la surprise d'arborer un polo avec des manches « arc-en-ciel », en soutien à la communauté LGBT+— STOP HOMOPHOBIE (@stop_homophobie) December 10, 2022
Homosexuality and sexual relations outside of marriage are illegal in Qatar, which has prompted criticism of organising body FIFA and the Qatari authorities.
The minister’s office said that she had worn “the blue of the French team, the colours of the rainbow, with an insignia of friendship between France and Qatar”.
In an interview with BFMTV, Ms Oudéa-Castéra said that she would “pass a certain number of messages” on sensitive subjects, including human rights, working conditions for foreign workers, and the treatment of the LGBTQ+ community.
She said: “I will meet with the representative of the International Labor Organization to discuss the situation of human rights and working conditions in Qatar, but also the progress made and the way forward, she had said.
“Afterwards, I will have a meeting with the president of the LGBT supporters' club of the French team. It will be an opportunity to look back on how the LGBT supporters felt in this World Cup, and how they were respected.”
Eight teams from Western Europe had at one time been planning to have their captains wear a rainbow ‘One Love’ armband, but this was later changed after FIFA threatened to issue sanctions.
Several Western visitors, including the German and Danish representatives, have sent similar subtle messages.
Before their first match, the German team placed their hands over their mouths in their official photograph. This was a criticism of what they called the limit to their freedom of expression. The action was widely criticised in Qatar.
The French team celebrated their win at the semi-finals yesterday, and have a day off today before their next match against Morocco.
Une Qualif' en demi-finale, ça se savoure ! pic.twitter.com/Baa12QTvJR— Equipe de France ⭐⭐ (@equipedefrance) December 10, 2022
The team celebrated their victory with joy, and photos of the players in their dressing room show their energy. A huge speaker played celebration music and the team danced on tables.
A video also showed their happy return to their hotel complex, Al Messila, in Doha. Hotel employees welcomed the team back as they arrived.
The semi-final against Morocco is set for Wednesday, December 14 at 20:00.
Of course, the reaction in the UK was not quite as jubilant. Newspapers on each side used the other’s language to express their feelings.
Le Parisien went with a simple “Yes!”, while The Daily Star chose a slightly less polite word for its reaction…
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