Qatar is reviewing its investment in London after the city’s transport authority banned Doha advertising on buses, taxis and trains in the British capital this week.
The Transport for London organization justified its decision by saying it was concerned about Qatar’s stance on the rights of the LGBT community and the Gulf state’s treatment of migrant workers, according to a report by the Financial Times.
This decision infuriated Doha, already upset by the criticism it received as host of the World Cup.
Justifications for the decision in London
In 2019, London Mayor Sadiq Khan asked TfL to “review how it handles advertising and sponsorship from countries with anti-LGBT laws”.
This demand led to the suspension of new advertisements from 11 countries, including Qatar, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.
However, London’s transport authority said on Friday that “some Qatar ads have since been shown on the network, despite the decision,” according to the paper.
But the commission decided to ban the ads altogether after banning European teams at the World Cup in Qatar from wearing badges in support of the rights of LGBTQ people.
The person involved in the Qatari review of London investments said that the transport authority, which is headed by Khan, this week contacted the body that oversees the World Cup and the Qatar Tourism Authority to ask them of the to inform prohibition.
He pointed out that in response, “Qatar is reviewing its current and future investments in London, and studying investment opportunities in other UK cities.”
The spokesperson added that TfL’s ban on Qatari advertising “has been interpreted as a message from the mayor’s office that Qatari businesses are not welcome in London,” according to the Financial Times.
The impact of the boycott on London
So far, it is not clear what impact the Qatari decision is likely to have on Doha’s investments in London.
Over the past two decades, however, Qatar has become one of the biggest investors in London through its $450 billion sovereign wealth fund.
It is worth noting that Qatar pledged in May to invest 10 billion pounds sterling over five years in the United Kingdom through the Qatar Investment Authority, including in the sectors of technology, healthcare, infrastructure and clean energy.
The Qatari media office and the Qatar Investment Authority declined to comment. But the person involved in the Qatar report said Doha views the NFL ban as “another blatant example of double standards.”
The source said: “The Transport for London Authority accepts adverts from the UAE and Saudi Arabia, and it has many commercial interests in China, and there is no indication that these deals with these countries have been withdrawn,” according to the Financial Times report.
Allow the wearing of homosexual clothing
An AFP report on Friday said the Football Association of Wales said supporters in Qatar were allowed to wear rainbow-coloured flags and caps (symbolising support for LGBT people) at World Cup stadiums after they were previously confiscated at the entrance.
The opening days of the World Cup in Qatar witnessed widespread debate over gay rights, which have been banned in the Gulf nation, as fans were asked to remove any clothing that indicated homosexuality.
Allow the wearing of clothing symbolizing homosexuality in the World Cup in Qatar
The Football Association of Wales said supporters in Qatar were allowed to wear rainbow-coloured flags and hats (symbolising LGBT) at World Cup stadiums after they were previously confiscated at the entrance.
Laura McAllister, the former captain of the Welsh national team, was confronted by security guards at her country’s match against the United States on Monday when she was asked to remove her rainbow hat.
However, the Football Association of Wales tweeted that Fifa had confirmed that fans wearing rainbow kits would be allowed into Friday’s game against Iran.
Seven European teams, including England and Germany, announced on Monday that they had dropped plans to wear a rainbow armband. It came after threats from FIFA of on-field disciplinary action.
The German players kept their mouths shut as they took a photo of the team ahead of the match against Japan on Wednesday in protest at FIFA’s decision to ban homosexual support badges.
Many Qataris are concerned and resentful of what they see as the double standards that have accompanied the start of the World Cup, as many say the campaign criticizing the country’s human rights record and the exploitation of migrant workers is very “discriminatory and hypocritical.” according to the New York Times.
“Double standards”… How do Qataris view criticism of their country?
Many Qataris are concerned and resentful of what they see as the double standards that have accompanied the start of the World Cup, as many say the campaign of criticism of the country’s human rights record and the exploitation of migrant workers in it is very discriminatory and hypocritical, according to the New York Times.
The newspaper said the Qataris believe that holding the tournament in their country has brought a disproportionate wave of negative media coverage, they say, and descriptions of their country and people feel stereotypical and outdated, as well as an unfamiliar picture of Qatar for they.
She added that the Qataris believe that the coverage includes double standards, and they asked why the Europeans would buy natural gas from Qatar if in their opinion the country is so hateful that they cannot watch football there?
The newspaper also indicated that the Qataris also asked why some well-known international personalities who spoke ill of Qatar did not do the same when talking about the Emirates, for example?