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04/19/2007


Call For World Cup Boycott In Response To Qatar's 'Gay Test'

Qatar Stadium

Last month we told you about how the new FIFA anti-discrimination task force is already on the job to hold Russia and Qatar accountable for their anti-gay laws given that both nations will be hosting the World Cup in 2018 and 2022, respectively. The task force is going to have their work cut out for them now that Qatar, along with several other Persian Gulf countries, has put in place a medical "gay test" to screen out homosexual visitors to their country.

In the wake of such absurdity, LGBT activist Peter Tatchell is calling for an out-and-out boycott of the country, insisting that the World Cup in Qatar be canceled.

"This contradicts previous assurances given to FIFA by the Qatar government that everyone will be welcome and that there will be no discrimination," [Tatchell] said.

"FIFA now has no option but to cancel the world cup in Qatar. Allowing it to go head in these circumstances would involve FIFA colluding with homophobic discrimination."

A FIFA spokesperson said that they are "not aware about the specific matter" of the proposed legislation, but "FIFA's zero tolerance policy towards any acts of racism and discrimination affecting the freedom of private persons - including their sexual and political freedom - applies to the FIFA World Cup and to all other FIFA events and activities."


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]


If Qatar Ever Has a Gay Pride, the Fireworks Might Look Like This: VIDEO

Fireworks

But they don't have a Gay Pride. They do, however, have rainbow daytime fireworks, courtesy of New York-based artist Cai Guo-Qiang and his microchip-controlled explosives.

Check out this daytime display from the Arab Museum of Modern Art in Doha and orchestrated by the fireworks-famous Grucci family, AFTER THE JUMP...

It's the largest daytime fireworks display in history.

Continue reading "If Qatar Ever Has a Gay Pride, the Fireworks Might Look Like This: VIDEO" »


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