World Cup 2022: ‘Being a homosexual fan in Doha is so taboo we’re invisible’

Phil in Qatar

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“I don’t feel I have to choose between being a gay man and an England fan,” says Phil

Phil, 39, is a lifelong football fan who’s in Qatar for his fourth World Cup in a row. Qatar has said “everyone is welcome”, but as a gay man travelling in a country where same-sex relationships are criminalised, he tells us through his diary how the experience has been challenging.

Tuesday 22 November, 18:00 – Heathrow Terminal 5

On the way to the World Cup in Russia in 2018, the airport was absolutely packed with fans from around the world, but it just looks like an average Tuesday here tonight.

I’ve been an England fan for longer than I’ve known what the word “gay” means. My first memories of football are of watching the World Cup in 1990 at my grandparents’ house, and being allowed to stay up late for England games.

I’m aware that my decision to go to Qatar puts me in the substantial minority of gay England fans – but if we’re serious that the game is for everyone, I’m not going…