Pub apologises to customers and refuses to show World Cup games over LGBT concerns

Watch: Dozens of UK bars boycott World Cup in protest at Qatar's human rights record

A pub in Leeds has reversed its decision to show World Cup games following concerns from customers over Qatar's stance on gay rights.

The tournament, which begins on Sunday, has been hit by controversy over Qatar's laws banning same-sex relationships, with those found guilty potentially facing the death sentence or lengthy jail terms.

While TV presenters like Gary Lineker insist they will highlight the issues while reporting on the tournament in the country, dozens of UK pubs are now refusing to show any games in protest at the LGBT issues.

One pub, The Mustard Pot in Chapel Allerton, Leeds, has reversed its initial decision to show the games after customers raised their concerns.

The landlady of The Mustard Pot has reversed the pub's decision to show World Cup games. (SWNS)
The landlady of The Mustard Pot in Chapel Allerton, Leeds, has reversed the pub's decision to show World Cup games. (SWNS)

In a post on social media, landlady Nicola Moxham wrote: "I made the wrong decision to show the World Cup and I am sorry.

"I hadn't put enough thought into it as I should have done and looking into it more it's clear we should not be showing it."

The pub had previously advertised table and private room bookings to view the games.

Moxham, 43, admitted she'd done a "U-turn" and issued refunds to people who had already booked.

She said: "We always show the big football matches, we always show the World Cup.

"Then we got a few comments off our regulars, just being quite honest, not attacking me, saying, 'Have you thought about the moral repercussions of showing this?'

"I hadn't at that point, and then I started to look into it a bit more and realised it is distressing for a lot of people, and it's not the right thing for us to be showing it.

"So we've had a U-turn and we're no longer showing it."

The Mustard Pot announced their decision on social media. (Facebook)
The Mustard Pot announced the decision on social media. (Facebook)
Mustard Pot landlady Nicola Moxham admitted she had done a u-turn on the pub's decision to show World Cup games. (SWNS)
Mustard Pot landlady Nicola Moxham admitted she had performed a U-turn on the pub's decision to show World Cup games. (SWNS)

She added: "The conversations were about its terrible human rights and its homophobia and that it kills people, and all the horrific things we are now seeing.

"Our clientele it suits because they are quite politically aware. For other people, everything counts on the World Cup, it's the biggest sporting event for their business."

Several other pubs have also made the decision to turn off televisions showing live coverage of the games.

John Sizzle, 54, co-owner of London-based bar The Glory, said: "Of course we will listen to our customers and if there is demand for it and it's a celebration then we will put it on but, based on what I've seen so far, there won't be interest."

The Key Club music venue, in Leeds, West Yorkshire, said it wouldn't screen games in response to Qatar's "ongoing human rights and LGBTQ+ issues", while the Liverpool Arms in Chester announced that it wouldn't be showing live matches due to the host nation's "lack of LGBTQ+ rights".

A World Cup sign, pictured in Souq Waqif, ahead of the FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar. Picture date: Thursday November 17, 2022.
Preparations for the World Cup in Qatar are ramping up ahead of the start of the tournament on Sunday. (PA) (PA)

Other venues refusing to show games include the Commercial Hotel and Bar in Chester and the George and Dragon pub in London.

Some customers applauded the pubs for taking such a strict stand against Qatar's human rights record.

One wrote on social media that venues should be applauded for "taking a stand", while another added: "Wow, I'll make a point of coming in for a drink! Very impressed!"

But others looking forward to catching games voiced anger that their pub wouldn't be showing the football coverage.

One wrote: "People were offended that you were showing the country's football team compete in the World Cup?

"I thinks it's fair to say neither yourselves, the players or the people of this country made the decision to host it there!"

World Cup organisers have previously stated "everyone is welcome" to visit Qatar to watch the tournament, but foreign secretary James Cleverly said last month that football fans should "respect Islamic culture norms" if travelling to Qatar for the tournament.

Yahoo News UK has contacted the British Beer and Pub Association for comment.