Esquires takes stance against controversial Qatar World Cup

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The owners of a venue in Bedford have confirmed that they will not be showing any World Cup games in response to the controversy surrounding human rights abuses and the treatment of the LGBTQIA community in the host nation, Qatar.

Instead, Bedford Esquires will be actively fundraising for a local LGBT+ charity throughout the duration of the tournament.

Traditionally, Esquires on Greyfriars has shown all international England games, providing an alternative to commercial town centre venues.

However, owner, Gareth Barber, issued a statement on Esquires’ social media platforms today (Thursday), confirming that they have taken the decision to boycott the event, which begins on Sunday.

Speaking to the Bedford Independent, owner, Gareth Barber, further clarified Esquires’ position.

“It just doesn’t feel right to me on a personal level and collectively as a venue, we felt like we didn’t want to profit out of an event that has used slave labour in a country that is vocal in its prejudice.

“I myself manage an LGBT+ artist and the well-documented laws and regulations in Qatar go against everything I believe in and want the venue to stand for.

“I love football and we have always shown the tournament games, but this one just doesn’t sit well.”

Instead of showing the games, Esquires will be fundraising for LGBT+ Bedfordshire throughout the tournament and the venue will match fund the total from their bar takings.