Qatar’s government communications office said Tatchell was neither arrested nor detained, but simply told “cordially and professionally” to move on.
“The rumors on social media that a representative of the Peter Tatchell Foundation has been arrested in Qatar are completely false and baseless,” the statement said.
Asked on London’s LBC radio if he had raised the Tatchell issue with the Qatari government, Cleverley said he had not and that it would not prevent him from attending the tournament.
“One of the things I would say to football fans is please be respectful of the host country,” Cleverley said.
“They’re trying to make sure people can be themselves and enjoy football and I think with a little bit of flexibility and compromise on both sides it can be a safe, secure and exciting World Cup.”
Labour’s Keir Starmer, a die-hard fan of the beautiful game and Arsenal supporter, refuses to attend games on human rights grounds.
Cleverly said he was looking forward to participating as it was “real work”.
“As the leader of the opposition he is in a great position to send messages, I have a real job to do,” he said.
Speaking from Sydney early Thursday morning, Tatchell said Herald and The era he was horrified by Cleverley’s comments.
“LGBT fans may not be safe,” he said.
“It is appalling that Mr Cleverley is urging fans to respect the host nation rather than calling for repression.
“Any fans or public figures who travel to the World Cup will be colluding with a homophobic, sexist and racist regime and Mr Cleverley should know better,” he said.
UK culture representative Lucy Powell said sport should be open to all.
“Many fans will feel unable to attend this tournament to support their team because of Qatar’s human rights, labor and LGBT+ records,” she said.
“The government should challenge FIFA on how they have put fans in this position and ensure the full safety of all fans in attendance, rather than defending discriminatory values.”
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