World Cup 2022: British boyband Blue criticised for Qatar fan festival performance amid country’s LGBTQ+ laws

Blue joins several performers who have faced scrutiny over performing at the World Cup in Qatar, such as Robbie Williams and Jungkook.

Blue, whose 2002 album was titled ‘One Love’, are the latest musicians to head to Qatar and perform as part of the World Cup 2022 celebrations. In doing so, the English boy band have borne the brunt of heavy criticism due to the country’s human rights record and stance on LGBTQ+.

Duncan James, Lee Ryan, Anthony Costa and Simon Webbe took to the stage of Doha’s Al Bidda Park on Monday (November 21). Many fans attended as they celebrated England’s 6-2 thrashing of Iran in their opening game of Group B.

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This year’s World Cup has faced heavy scrutiny ever since Qatar were announced as the first ever middle-eastern hosts of the tournament in 2010. It is due to the country’s stance on women’s rights, as well as that homosexuality is illegal.

Due to the fact that Blue’s star singer Duncan is gay and has been so open about his sexuality, the band have been scrutinised for accepting the Qatari paycheque. The Salisbury-born artist came out in 2009 when he admitted he was “so scared”.

Blue are not the only musicians to face backlash for playing gigs in Qatar, joining the likes of Robbie Williams. The former Take That star famously defended his decision by telling reporters: “Of course I do not condone any abuse of human rights anywhere. That being said, if we do not visit countries that abuse human rights in some shape or form, it would be the shortest tour ever known. I would not even be able to perform in my own kitchen.”