Barcelona have warned their LGBTQ+ followers they may face “severe punishment” in Saudi Arabia ought to they have interaction in any acts of a sexual nature within the Gulf nation this week.
Barcelona are within the Saudi capital, Riyadh, for the Spanish Super Cup, and 1000’s of followers have travelled for the three-match match. Real Madrid beat metropolis rivals Atletico 5-3 on Thursday night time, and Barca play Osasuna within the different semi-final earlier than the Sunday’s remaining.
The membership issued a prolonged assertion on their web site, telling supporters to be cautious of their behaviour within the nation, the place same-sex relations are unlawful.
“People are advised to be respectful and prudent when it comes to public demonstrations of affection,” the assertion stated. “Indecent behaviour, including any action of a sexual nature, can lead to severe legal consequence for foreigners. Same-sex relations can also be subjected to severe penalties, as well as open displays of support for LGBTI causes, even on social media.”
The Spanish Super Cup is one small a part of Saudi Arabia’s bold efforts to be a worldwide participant on the earth of sport. The nation has dedicated huge funding into staging F1 races and boxing fights, paid enormous switch charges and wages to lure elite footballers to the Saudi Pro League, and supplied profitable prize cash to disrupt to establishment in golf and horse racing.
But Human Rights Watch (HRW) stated Barcelona’s assertion highlighted the challenges of internet hosting sporting occasions in Saudi Arabia.
“This briefing serves as a reminder that there is currently no human rights framework for fans, players, journalists or anyone else travelling to Saudi Arabia for a sporting event,” stated Minky Worden, the director of worldwide initiatives at HRW. “This is the main problem and what is required is due diligence to establish the risks people might face.”