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Shrewsbury Town's LGBTQ+ group call for Qatar SC friendly to be cancelled

Shrewsbury Town's LGBTQ+ group has hit out at the club's decision to play a friendly against Qatar SC - and called for it to be called off.

Shrewsbury Town
Shrewsbury Town

Steve Cotterill's side are due to face Qatar in Spain during their pre-season camp - however the club's Proud Salopians group has released a lengthy statement calling for the game to be cancelled - due to Qatar's stances on the LGBTQ+ community, women's rights and overall human rights.

In a statement on social media, the group has said that if the game, which is due to take place next Wednesday, does go ahead, then all efforts should be made to display the club's support for the LGBTQ+ community and women's rights.

In the statement, the group said: "Homosexuality is illegal and under Qatari law carries the death sentence for Muslims, with hefty prison sentences for non Muslims.

"Women are dependant on men for permission to marry, travel, pursue higher education or make decisions about their own children and over 6,500 migrant workers have died in the country since the World Cup was announced to be held in Qatar in 2010.

"Ideally, we believe the friendly versus Qatar SC should not go ahead - indeed following similar concerns from sections of the fanbase, Watford's friendly with the Qatar national team on their summer camp was cancelled.

"We understand of course that England and Wales will be heading to Qatar later this year, but unlike these sides, Shrewsbury Town have made an active choice who they play against.

"Given the complex logistics of arranging friendlies during an overseas training camp, and with the game only being a week away, should the game remain scheduled we urge our club to display its support for all human rights, the LGBTQ+ community, and women's rights at the game, as part of our #SalopForAll ethos and in light of the club's recent and ongoing support of HerGameToo, Kick it Out, and Rainbow laces amongst other campaigns.

"We strongly believe supporting any aspect of these regimes is morally wrong and ethically dubious, and welcome the opportunity for further fan and supporter group engagement with the club to ensure any future arrangements take into account any collective concerns."

The group also said: "We said ideally the game wouldn't go ahead. We understand that with days to go, and in view of the complex prep involved in a training camp a cancelled game would disrupt pre-season preparations, which is not our intention. Accordingly, we asked for visible allyship and support."

Shrewsbury Town have said the captain will wear a rainbow armband during the game.

A spokesman said: "Shrewsbury Town FC is aware of the concerns regarding playing a pre-season training match with Qatar SC at a hotel pitch in Spain.

"Through our continuous open dialogue with Proud Salopians, our LGBTQ+ Supporters group, we have discussed the training game and for this match, our captain will be wearing the Rainbow Laces captain's armband to show solidarity with our LGBTQ+ community. The club will also continue our dialogue with Proud Salopians and other members of our Salop For All group on this subject.

"There is no place in society for any form of discrimination and Shrewsbury Town FC is an inclusive/community and family club that works very closely with all of our supporters to be inclusive of the nine protected characteristics of equality."

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