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FIFA's Anti-Discrimination Taskforce Seeks to Pressure Russia and Qatar Over Anti-gay Laws

As businesses, organizations, and high profile individuals continue to voice their opposition to LGBT human rights abuses in Russia, it seems increasingly clear that 'anti-gay' is becoming an undesirable label for countries to hold, at least from an economic and public relations perspective.

The Guardian reports that with the World Cup scheduled to take place in Russia and Qatar in 2018 and 2022 respectively, FIFA's new anti-discrimination taskforce is joining in the fight to ensure those nations are held accountable for their anti-gay laws:

Piara PowarPiara Powar (pictured), the director of Football Against Racism in Europe and a member of the taskforce along with the former FA chairman David Bernstein, said it would raise the issue at a meeting this week.

"Qatar is one of the few countries where homosexuality is still illegal and there are also big challenges in terms of the new law in Russia in regard to the World Cup," he said.

"Qatar wants to host the tournament at the start of a new decade, they will want to present an internationally welcoming face and with FIFA's help we are sure it will be possible to win over the Qataris so that they come into line with the rest of the world, including other countries in the Gulf and Middle East and change the law on homosexuality.

"These are issues of civil rights, fans and players of all races, religions and sexuality need to feel comfortable going to the World Cups in both Russia and Qatar. It is going to be quite a challenge but we have to make sure that football becomes the vehicle for social change that we claim it is. This is a big issue."

While the taskforce is eager to begin work combating anti-gay discrimination, FIFA's leadership seems less enthusiastic. FIFA president Sepp Blatter, who refused to comment on the issue at the ongoing International Olympic Committee session in Buenos Aires, sparked a firestorm in 2011 when he joked that gay people should "refrain from sexual activity" during the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. 

[photo credit: Matthew Ashton/EMPICS]

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Comments

  1. Looks good. Should I feel hopeful optimism or expect cynical betrayal?

    Posted by: Kev C | Sep 9, 2013 8:23:51 PM


  2. In the bigger picture, this is amazing. When we have independant organizations saying that anti-gay laws are not acceptable, then that spreads worldwide. This is a fantastic counterweight to Scott Lively and his ilk who are spreading homophobia in the countries that they can.

    When economic pressures come to beare upon them, they will choose economics over evangelism any day.

    Posted by: Randy | Sep 9, 2013 9:15:26 PM


  3. Don't get your hopes up. The President speaks for FIFA and clearly the taskforce didn't get the memo that they are there for public relations and to keep the human resources department happy and not to make waves.

    Posted by: terry | Sep 9, 2013 9:46:19 PM


  4. I'm "supportin" when-ever and where-ever I see it. Nothing changes unless these organization step up to change. Good for him.

    Posted by: Will | Sep 9, 2013 9:59:20 PM


  5. I wish FIA (the Federation Internationale Automobile) would put pressure on or yank the inaugural Russian Grand Prix Formula 1 race scheduled for 2014 at the new race track in Sochi. It's reportedly been a pet project of Putin's to get a Russian Grand Prix.

    Posted by: Rexford | Sep 9, 2013 10:32:51 PM


  6. The anti-gay must always be pressured. Not unlike the 17 year old trying to be rolled over on his first date.

    Posted by: Dan | Sep 9, 2013 10:52:40 PM


  7. I met with Sepp Blatter, FIFA president privately in Chicago once. He demanded to receive Head of State treatment, including a private motorcade that shut down traffic. An egotist of the very highest order. Unless their lofty positions amongst sports global royalty are truly threatened these self absorbed old white men will continue to pretend to care in public and makes jokes privately

    Posted by: UrbanMike | Sep 9, 2013 11:07:43 PM


  8. Fag-bashing was a time honored male-bonding opportunity for jocks.

    Nice to see a 180-degree change in attitude. Thank you, athletic allies.

    Posted by: JonnyNYNY2FLFL | Sep 9, 2013 11:30:32 PM


  9. Fag-bashing was a time honored male-bonding opportunity for jocks.

    Nice to see a 180-degree change in attitude. Thank you, athletic allies.

    Posted by: JonnyNYNY2FLFL | Sep 9, 2013 11:30:32 PM


  10. This is all very well and good.

    But the Russian World Cup is in 2018 and the Qatar World Cup is in 2022.

    There is no excuse for not moving these events to civilised countries unless Russia and Qatar repeal their homophobic laws.

    FIFA needs to set a strict deadline by which to have repealed their homophobic legislation or the World Cup will be pulled.

    I think a deadline of March 31st 2014 gives Russian plenty of time to repeal their fascist laws against homosexuality.

    I think a deadline of September 30th 2014 gives Qatar plenty of time to repeal their fascist laws against homosexuality.


    Posted by: MaryM | Sep 10, 2013 8:08:31 AM


  11. "...The anti-gay must always be pressured. Not unlike the 17 year old trying to be rolled over on his first date.POSTED BY: DAN..."

    Typical lying Christo-heterosexualist remark: Hey look at me, I'm linking Gay Rights Fight with Pedophilia!

    Do you really think we are all THAT stupid not to see YOUR agenda?

    F.O. NOM. Isn't there a Regnerus Study you could be memorizing?

    Posted by: dean | Sep 10, 2013 8:41:29 AM


  12. When they chose Russia, it wasn't strange. But choosing Qatar is something nobody can explain rationally.
    Of course there's an explanation, money. Fifa are as corrupt as IOC, and some people pressure to Qatar being chose against USA (wich is quite strange because one of Fifa's obsessions is promoting soccer in the USA, probably the bigger market that resist them).
    Qatar is a very dangerous destination not only for gays, but for women too

    Posted by: jjose712 | Sep 10, 2013 2:44:30 PM


  13. And the prove that it was something fishy about Qatar selection is the fact that now they want to change the dates, and make the world cup in winter, because summer heat there is just too much (something that of course they know before chosing them)

    Posted by: jjose712 | Sep 10, 2013 3:02:05 PM


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