Qatar reviewing London investments after its adverts banned on capital’s transport network | UK News

Qatar is rethinking investments in London after the capital’s transport operator banned the Middle Eastern country’s advertising on the metro, buses and taxis.

A source knowledgeable about the review told Sky News that the Transport for London (TfL) decision is “another clear example of double standards and good signals for cheap political scoring” around. World Cupwhich the Gulf state is currently hosting.

Opposing the move, Qatar said it was “interpreted as a message from the mayor’s office that Qatari business is not welcome in London”.

TfL’s decision comes after concerns about the state’s policy on LGBT+ rights and the state’s treatment of migrant workers, in the wake of many construction workers’ deaths in preparation for the competition.

Homosexuality in Qatar is illegal and same-sex relationships are punishable by up to seven years in prison.

Criticism of the Gulf nation increased this week after the football federations of seven nations, including England and Wales, cancel plans for some players to wear OneLove armbands.

Armbands are worn to show solidarity with the LGBT+ community.

However, the football associations have said they are not willing to risk “sporting sanctions” to defend this principle, with star players, including England captain Harry Kane and Wales captain Gareth Bale will face an immediate yellow card and possible ban.

Team Qatar has been eliminated from the tournament after only two games, after losing both.

Qatar is one of the largest investors in London through its sovereign wealth fund.

The Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) owns the Harrods department store, the Shard skyscraper and is a co-owner of Canary Wharf.

Harrods department store in London.  Photo: AP
The Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) owns the Harrods department store. Photo: AP

The Gulf nation also owns the Savoy and Grosvenor House hotels, a 20% stake in Heathrow Airport and a 14% stake in the Sainsbury’s supermarket chain.

Speaking about the TfL ad ban, a source with knowledge of the Qatar review told Sky News: “The Qataris see this as a contradiction of London’s political leaders.

“At a time when other investors are withdrawing from London due to economic uncertainty, this decision is interpreted as a message from the mayor’s office that Qatari business is not welcome in London.”

The source said this was “despite the mayor’s benefit from Qatar’s investments in London and his colleagues’ calls to encourage further investment in London, including part of Qatar’s commitment to invest in London.” invest £10 billion more in June.”

The Shard skyscraper in London.  Photo: AP
The Shard skyscraper in London. Photo: AP

‘All current and future London investments have been reviewed’

The source added: “Following this decision, Qataris have begun to look at all their current and future investments in London and look at investment opportunities in other cities and countries. of the United Kingdom, the decision may be made more appealing to Qataris given London’s entry into a potential recession and the ongoing economic turmoil in the city in recent months.

A TfL spokesperson said that ahead of the World Cup, it had provided its advertising and brand partners “further guidance on advertising that we may consider acceptable to run during the tournament”. while ensuring that football fans are not denied the opportunity to support their team.”

“Each advertising campaign continues to be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.”

Read more:
Supermarket withdraws sponsorship after team abandons OneLove armband
FIFA allows the wearing of hats and rainbow flags at the Qatar World Cup stadium in the shape of a U

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan in 2019 asked TfL to review how it treats advertising and sponsorship from countries with anti-LGBT+ laws.

That resulted in ads from 11 countries, including Qatar, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, being forwarded to TfL for review. 11 either have the death penalty for same-sex acts or they can apply such punishment.

TfL has acknowledged that some ads mentioning Qatar have been approved to run on the network since 2019.

But the organization moved to enforce the ban outright this week.

Ads promoting tourism to Qatar ‘not acceptable’

TfL said ads promoting tourism to Qatar, tourism in Qatar or depicting Qatar as an attractive destination would not be considered acceptable.

But TfL added that ads that include the official logo of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 “will be accepted”, as well as ads that “encourage people to watch matches on TV or streaming services”.

A spokesman for Mr Khan’s office said: “It is appropriate for TfL to review each of its online advertising campaigns on a case-by-case basis, contrary to its advertising policy. TfL has issued further guidance for advertising partners ahead of the World Cup.

“There are a number of instances where advertising could be deemed unacceptable and as a vocal advocate for LGBTQ+ London rights, in 2019 the mayor asked TfL to review its policy. for all ads referring to countries that criminalize same-sex relationships. They now face strict TfL scrutiny before appearing online.”


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