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Robbie Rogers Slams FIFA's Decision to Host World Cup in Anti-gay Countries: 'Our Lives Don't Matter'

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In a column for USA TODAY Sports this week, LA Galaxy player Robbie Rogers doubled down on his criticism of FIFA and its decision to hold the 2018 and 2022 World Cups in Russia and Qatar respectively. Both countries have extremely poor records on LGBT rights, with homosexuality remaining illegal in Qatar and Russia's anti-gay propaganda ban silencing free speech on LGBT issues. 

Wrote Rogers:

FIFA is great at lofty rhetoric. They say their goal is improving the game of soccer "constantly and promot(ing) it globally in the light of its unifying, educational, cultural and humanitarian values, particularly through youth and development programs."

Those are wonderful ideals and its how I think of my sport and my place in it as a role model to young athletes. But FIFA doesn't live those words, not when they decide to hold the next two World Cups, the most widely watched sporting events in the world, in Russia in 2018 and Qatar in 2022, two countries that fall far short when it comes to humanitarian values, not to mention their seriously anti-LGBT values and crushing anti-gay laws.

If actions speak louder than words, then the message FIFA sends to gay athletes is painfully clear. Not only don't they have our backs, our lives don't matter. So for any gay soccer player who has hopes of playing for the U.S. National Team at the World Cup, being open about their sexuality could have real consequences when they set foot in countries with laws that could land them in jail.

Read the full column here

Last month, Rogers called FIFA's decision to host the World Cup in anti-gay countries "insane".


At Least 3 Arrested On Suspicion Of Homosexuality In The Gambia

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The West African nation The Gambia has begun rounding up and arresting individuals suspected of being gay, BuzzFeed reports.

Gambian media outlet the Daily Observer reports that at least three individuals have already been arrested on suspicion of homosexuality. You'll recall that The Gambia criminalized "aggravated homosexuality" earlier this year with punishment up to life in prison. The Gambia's President Yahya Jammeh has become infamous for his virulently homophobic remarks, calling gays "vermin" than need to be killed like malaria-infected mosquitoes and threatening to kill any LGBT Gambians seeks asylum in the West. 

A member of The Gambia's National Intelligence Agency (NIA) spoke with the Daily Observer about the arrests, providing a statement rich in homophobic bile:

“We arrested some and others are beyond the territory, but that would not stop us from operations. During the investigations, suspects confessed that they were truly engaged in the act of homosexuality. 

They further revealed that most them started homosexual act between the ages of nine and ten. The investigation also revealed that the suspects were introduced to the homosexual act by friends, most of whom are non-Gambians. The suspects said they depended on them for financial support. The suspects were engaged in the activities to the point where they became addicted and could no longer stop”.

The intelligence officer, who affirmed that the practice is against the law, added: “The suspects continued on with the activity and along the line they met other people who they associated with to engage in the activity”. 

The officer called on the general public to be vigilant and discourage activities he described as “inhuman, un-Gambian and condemned by all religions”. 

“Landlords, bar, restaurants, and hotels owners, amongst others, should also take responsibility to monitor extra activities that happen in their environment. The act is illegal and we will leave no stone unturned to ensuring that it is not practiced in The Gambia. Whoever is caught will face prosecution,” the officer concluded.

GambiaMeanwhile, BuzzFeed reports that the number of individuals arrested since November on suspicion of homosexuality in The Gambia could be as high as 13. BuzzFeed also reports that The Gambia may be ratcheting up its anti-gay rhetoric in an attempt to woo allies in and aid from the Middle East, with particular attention being paid to Qatar and its leader Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani:  

Last fall, Jammeh pulled the Gambia out of the Commonwealth of former British colonies. That was just days after declaring at the United Nations in New York, “Those who promote homosexuality want to put an end to human existence. It is becoming an epidemic and we Muslims and Africans will fight to end this behavior…. Homosexuality in all its forms and manifestations which, though very evil, antihuman as well as anti-Allah, is being promoted as a human right by some powers.”

In September, just after a months-long confrontation between Uganda and donor nations over a sweeping anti-LGBT law enacted in February was brought to an end when Uganda’s Constitutional Court nullified it on procedural grounds, Jammeh’s government passed a law imposing a lifetime prison sentence for “aggravated homosexuality” that appeared to be closely modeled on some of the Ugandan law’s most controversial provisions.

Fatou Camara, who briefly served as Jammeh’s communications director and hosted a Gambian television program before she was charged with sedition and fled to the United States, noted that the current wave of arrests took place just before Jammeh made a state visit to the Persian Gulf state of Qatar. While there, he signed a cooperation agreement with Qatar’s leader, Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani.

Camara said that she spoke with sources who accompanied Jammeh on the visit, and that they told her he was using this issue to make the case for Qatari support. “This is one point he used to talk to the emir: ‘I cannot get along with the West because they want [me] to promote homosexuality,’” she said.


Robbie Rogers Blasts FIFA for 'Insane' Decision to Host World Cup in Anti-gay Countries Like Russia, Qatar

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Speaking with Sky Sports on Thursday, LA Galaxy star Robbie Rogers came out strongly against FIFA's decision to host the 2018 and 2022 World Cups in Russia and Qatar respectively - two countries with very poor records on LGBT rights.

Said Rogers:

“I would never pressure anyone into speaking about the issue but it is absolutely insane. If you look at the next few World Cups, they are in places where, if I were to go, I could possibly be imprisoned or beat up or stoned to death. It is pretty ridiculous. There is going to be number of gay fans that will go to watch the sport. Of course there is going to be another gay footballer there. So I think it is an issue that needs to be spoken about and discussed with FIFA because every player should feel safe when they go to a World Cup.”

Rogers, who played with Leeds United between 2012 and 2013, also talked about how his coming out led to his early retirement from the sport and eventually brought him to LA Galaxy.

Watch the interview here.

Back in July, FIFA announced that a special task force will be needed to deal with homophobia at the 2018 World Cup in Russia. 


Uganda Awarded 2017 World Cross Country Championships Despite Fears Of Harsh New Anti-Gay Law - VIDEO

MuseveniDespite its severe anti-gay laws, Uganda has become the latest country to be awarded a major sporting event, reports Pink News.

Uganda last year passed a draconian anti-gay law which was eventually deemed to be unconstitutional. However, the African nation is expected to introduce an even more severe version of the law as a “Christmas gift” to the nation.

Uganda beat Bahrain - another no-go zone for gay people - to host the 2017 IAFF World Cross Country Championships.

It is expected that 700 athletes and hundreds of journalists will attend the event on March 23, 2017.

Of the decision to award the event to Uganda, sports minister Charles Bakkabulindi said:

“[President Yoweri Museveni] is passionate about athletics. He does not only receive all athletes whenever they shine but has gone a step further to give them a monthly stipend to motivate them. Not even football players get that." IAFF

The sporting world is making a habit of awarding international events to anti-gay nations of late. The 2017 and 2022 soccer World Cup has been awarded to Russia and Qatar respectively, despite both countries having controversial anti-gay laws.

Watch a report on Uganda's bid for the 2017 event, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Uganda Awarded 2017 World Cross Country Championships Despite Fears Of Harsh New Anti-Gay Law - VIDEO" »


Qatar Sports Minister Wants to Regulate Homosexuality 'Like Alcohol' for 2022 World Cup

FIFA's decision to allow Qatar to host the 2022 World Cup has been an ongoing point of contention for those concerned with the country's record on a variety of human rights (workers' rights, LGBT rights, etc.). Homosexuality remains illegal in the Middle Eastern country and Muslims can be put to death for extramarital sex under Sharia law. 

In a recent interview with The Associated Press, Qatar's sports minister Salah bin Ghanem bin Nasser al-Ali attempted to address some of the criticisms aimed at his country. In addition to promising labor reforms in the coming months, al-Ali pledged to find "creative" solutions to things like alcohol consumption and homosexuality during the upcoming games.  

Al-AliFor now, alcohol is only sold in selected Doha hotels and visitors must show their passports to enter these bars. Residents with a license to shop there can also buy alcohol in a government-run store. But World Cup organizer FIFA has a sponsorship deal with a brewer and it leaned on Brazil, the last tournament host, to allow beer sales in its 2014 World Cup stadiums. Asked specifically about alcohol in 2022 stadiums, the minister offered no guarantee.

"In the hotels and many areas we have alcohol but we have also our own system that people need to respect," he said. "As we bid for 2022, we will respect all the rules and regulations by FIFA. We can study this and minimize the impact on our people and tradition. I think we can be creative, finding solutions for all of this. But we respect all the rules and regulations."

- Asked how gay people will be welcomed in 2022, al-Ali replied: "It's exactly like the alcohol question."

He said Qatar doesn't want to create "this impression, illusion that we don't care about our tradition and our ethical values ... We are studying all these issues. We can adapt, we can be creative to have people coming and enjoying the games without losing the essence of our culture and respecting the preference of the people coming here. I think there is a lot we can do."

Back in 2010, FIFA President Sepp Blatter sparked a firestorm when he joked gay people should "refrain from sexual activity" during the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. 

Previously, "John Oliver Slams Qatar's Selection as World Cup Host by 'Comically Grotesque' FIFA: VIDEO" [tlrd]


Mexico Coach Defends Use of Anti-Gay Slur by World Cup Fans

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Football Against Racism Europe has contacted the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) after fans allegedly chanted the abusive term “puto”, the Spanish word for a male prostitute, "fag" or "coward", and a derogatory term for gay men, during Mexico’s win over Cameroon on June 13.

Mexican soccer coach Miguel Herrera has said that the slur, chanted by fans during opposition goal kicks, is “not that bad.” Speaking to The Christian Science Monitor, Mexican soccer fan Javier Ángeles argued that “puto” is used to point out cowardice and not to imply sexual preference.

However, according to Alejandro Brito Lemus, the director of the Mexican magazine Letra S, which covers LGBTQI issues, the use of the term by fans is “completely homophobic.”

Mexico is now under an investigation by FIFA. In a statement, the international governing body for soccer said:

“We encourage individuals and groups such as FARE to submit any evidence in their possession with regard to discriminatory behavior for the analysis and consideration of the FIFA disciplinary committee.”

FIFA is also looking into allegations of homophobic slurs by Brazilian fans, as well the use of anti-Semitic banners by Croatian and Russian fans.

Although FIFA President Sepp Blatter and Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff have pledged to use the World Cup as a platform against racism and discrimination, it has been argued that FIFA’s actions are hypocritical as it has awarded the 2018 World Cup to Russia and the 2022 event to Qatar, despite human rights abuses in those countries and Russia’s 2013 decision to pass anti-gay laws.

Watch Oliver Slam Qatar's selection as World Cup host, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Mexico Coach Defends Use of Anti-Gay Slur by World Cup Fans" »


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