LGBT football groups host panel event during Qatar World Cup

Cardiff Dragons FC are part of a group promoting inclusivity in the Welsh game through their new We Belong campaign

A football pitch with female football players visible in the background - highlighting the 'We Belong' campaign
‘We Belong’ will spotlight how Wales is providing an inclusive environment in football. Photo credit: Erin Zammitt

Three Welsh sporting organisations are joining forces to host a panel discussion about LGBT football during the Qatar World Cup.

The event will take place at local bar North Star Cardiff on 29 November at 5.30pm, where speakers will take part in a celebration of LGBT football in Wales.

The panel is part of the We Belong campaign which launched on 20 November, a collaboration between Cardiff Dragons FC, Football v Homophobia Cymru and The Rainbow Wall.

Homosexuality is illegal in World Cup host country Qatar, and their poor record on LGBT rights has made it a controversial choice for the global tournament.

But Charlotte Galloway, chair of Wales’s first LGBT football club Cardiff Dragons, says that We Belong won’t just be about Qatar, and will also showcase Wales and Welsh sport. 

She says: “Qatar is a good example of a country that’s not inclusive, so let’s show Wales as a country that is really inclusive, in terms of football.”

This World Cup is the Welsh men’s team’s first appearance for 64 years, but Qatar’s human rights issues mean many fans, including Galloway, are opposed to the event.

The panel will be followed by a watch party for the Wales v England group stage match, but there will also be a “not watch” area for fans who don’t want to view the game.

Galloway says: “It would be great for us to still all be in the same space and enjoy being with each other – we just won’t be watching the game.” 

The We Belong campaign aims to raise money for The Alwan Foundation, an organisation attempting to advance LGBT rights in the Gulf region.

Galloway hopes that the panel event will allow people to learn and share ideas, and that as a result, the impact of We Belong will continue long after the final whistle has blown in Qatar. 

‘We Belong’ organisations – who’s who?

  • Cardiff Dragons FC (@cardiffdragonsfc) – Wales’s first LGBT football club is mixed gender and open to players of all abilities. Training currently takes place at Ocean Park Arena from 8pm every Thursday.
  • Football v Homophobia (@football_v_homophobia) – A campaign that “exists to challenge discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and expression at all levels in football”.
  • The Rainbow Wall (@therainbowwallcymru) – FAW’s group for LGBT supporters and allies to connect and follow the Cymru National Teams.