Virgin Atlantic suspends gender-neutral uniform policy on England World Cup flight to Qatar | UK News


Virgin Atlantic has suspended a policy allowing its crew to choose gender-neutral uniforms on their flight taking England’s World Cup soccer team to Qatar.

The airline said the decision was due to a “risk assessment… taking into account laws and attitudes towards the LGBTQ+ community and expression of identity.”

Homosexuality is illegal in Qatar under Islamic Sharia law and there have been concerns about the conservative country’s treatment of LGBTQ+ tourists attending the tournament.

England’s World Cup The squad left their headquarters in St George’s Park on Tuesday for Qatar.

Her flight from Birmingham was believed to be in an Airbus A350 dubbed the “Rain Bow” – a symbol of LGBT+ pride.

Virgin Atlantic plane at Birmingham Airport taking England’s World Cup squad to Qatar

In a statement, Virgin Atlantic said: “We are proud that our leading gender identity policy allows our employees to express themselves through consistent choices.

“Following a risk assessment, it was recommended not to apply the policy on today’s charter flight to ensure the safety of our employees.”

Virgin Atlantic introduced a “flowing” approach in September, giving staff the option of wearing their red or burgundy uniforms depending on “how they identify or present themselves”.

A Virgin Atlantic A350 Airbus with Rain Bow prior to departure at Birmingham Airport.  The plane named "Rain Bow"  is to transport the English World Cup squad to Qatar.  Picture date: Tuesday November 15, 2022.
A Virgin Atlantic A350 Airbus with Rain Bow at Birmingham Airport

Recently an ambassador for the World Cup in Qatar described homosexuality as “damage to the spirit”. Khalid Salman told a German public broadcaster that being gay is “haram,” which means “forbidden” in Arabic.

England skipper Harry Kane is one of several national captains planning to take part in the ‘OneLove’ campaign during the tournament. Players will wear a rainbow colored armband to speak out against discrimination.

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Wales also traveled to Qatar on Tuesday for their first appearance at the tournament in 64 years.

Wales' Matthew Smith departing for Qatar from Cardiff Airport, Wales.  Picture date: Tuesday November 15, 2022.
Wales players arriving at Cardiff Airport

Jets of water were sprayed over the Wales team’s plane as it took off from Cardiff Airport.

Soccer Football - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 - Wales Departure for Qatar - Cardiff Airport, Cardiff, Wales, Britain - November 15, 2022 A water arch washes over the flight of the Wales team as they depart for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 action pictures via Reuters/Matthew Childs
A water arch washes over the Welsh team’s flight as they depart for the World Cup

Wales and England are in the same group for the tournament and will face off in two weeks time.


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