A member of Qatar's royal family has sparked a controversy after he seemingly refused to acknowledge female officials with a fist bump during the FIFA Club World Cup awards ceremony.

Sheikh Joaan bin Hamad Al Thani, brother of Qatar's ruler Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani and the president of the Qatar Olympic Committee, attended the FIFA Club World Cup final in Qatar last week. After Bayern Munich's 1-0 victory over Tigres UANL, the royal fist-bumped with male officials to celebrate.

In the footage of the awards ceremony which has gone viral, Poland's Robert Lewandowski and Germany's Joshua Kimmich could be seen collecting their medals and then fist bumping Sheikh Joaan. Following this, a line of mask-clad officials led by referee Esteban Ostojich approached the podium to collect their medals, and two of the male referees are seen bumping hands with the Sheikh, reports Mail Online.

However, when female referees Edina Alves Batista and Neuza Back approached him for a fist-bump, the Sheikh chose to refuse, following which they were seen walking straight past the royal without so much as an acknowledgment. The male official following them also didn't get a fist bump, but the final male referee did.

Sheikh Joaan's actions are being seen as part of the religious customs in the country, as some devout Muslims believe that Islam does not permit physical contact with a person of the opposite sex, with the exception of certain immediate family members.

Qatar, which is one of the world's richest countries on a per capita basis due to its oil and gas reserves, will host the FIFA World Cup next year, becoming the first Muslim and Arab country to host the event. Meanwhile, it continues to face criticism for its conservative laws, and sex ratio in which men outnumber women by more than three to one.

In Qatar, homosexuality can be punished by death and any public display of affection is against the law. Sex outside of marriage is illegal with a prison sentence of seven years, while victims of sexual assault may be arrested, detained, and prosecuted for adultery. Its treatment of gay people has led to it being named as the second most dangerous country to visit for the LGBTQ+ community.

Bayern Munich
Bayern Munich captain Manuel Neuer (C) lifts the Club World Cup trophy AFP / Karim JAAFAR