Activists gathered outside the FIFA museum on Tuesday in support of the LGBTQ+ community ahead of the upcoming World Cup in Qatar.
Just under two weeks remain before the showpiece’s first match and there are ongoing concerns over how women and LGBTQ+ individuals will be treated, with Qatari laws banning homosexuality and limiting the role of women in society.
Organisers have insisted that all fans will be welcome in the Gulf state, but comments from ex-Qatari international and World Cup ambassador Khalid Salman – set to be aired by German broadcaster ZDF on Tuesday – have created fresh uncertainty.
Salman said: “They [fans] have to accept our rules here.
“[Homosexuality] is haram. You know what haram [forbidden] means?
“I am not a strict Muslim but why is it haram? Because it is damage in the mind.”
The interview was then brought to an abrupt conclusion by an accompanying official, according to Reuters.
The protest in Zurich was organised by the All Out group, whose aim was to “make sure FIFA and Qatar know the world is watching and that citizens around the world expect action”.
FIFA maintained their stance that “everyone will be able to enjoy the tournament”.
A spokesperson said: “FIFA is confident that all necessary measures will be in place for LGBTIQ+ fans and allies to enjoy the tournament in a welcoming and safe environment, just as for everyone else.
“Qatar as a host country is fully committed to ensuring that everyone will be able to enjoy the tournament in a safe and welcoming environment, including members of the LGBTIQ+ community.”
The World Cup is set to run from November 20 to December 18, with Qatar kicking off the tournament against Ecuador.
England women’s footballer Lotte Wubben-Moy said that she would “not be watching” the event, while fellow Lioness Beth Mead revealed it is “not something I will be backing or promoting at all”.