Qatar anti-gay laws a mere ‘moral’ issue, says football chief

Sepp Blatter, president of FIFA, is sharply criticized for saying Qatar's anti-gay laws are a 'moral' and 'ethical' issue, rather than a human right violation

Qatar anti-gay laws a mere ‘moral’ issue, says football chief
01 June 2013

Qatar’s law severely punishing LGBT people is a ‘moral and ethical’ issue quite apart from ‘racism’, said Sepp Blatter, president International Federation of Football Association (FIFA).

Gay campaigners and readers of Gay Star News have reacted angrily to Blatter’s comments, labeling it as ‘shocking’ and saying it disregards human rights and puts money before morals.

Article 296 of Qatar’s Penal Code stipulate imprisonment between 1 and 5 years for same-sex acts, including possible lashes and fines.

FIFA has recently passed tough new sanctions to clamp down on racism and all forms of discrimination within the game.

When asked, however, about Qatar being award by FIFA to host the world cup in 2022 while enforcing strict anti-gay laws Blatter said: ‘What you are speaking about, I do not think it is part of racism, perhaps this is going into ethics and morals.

‘This, I think, is not the time being to bring it now. If you bring it to my attention then I should have a look on that.

‘But I cannot give you a definite answer’, reported the BBC.

Blatter was previously strongly criticized on the same issue when he was asked in December 2010 to give advice to gay fans wishing to attend the 2022 tournament, he said: ‘I’d say they should refrain from any sexual activities.’

The 77-year-old later apologized for his comments.

He also patronized and made a sexist comment during the FIFA congress in Mauritius on Friday (30 May).

He described one of the women candidates for FIFA’s executive committee, Australia’s Moya Dodd, as ‘good, and good-looking’ and said: ‘Any ladies in this room? Say something ladies! You are always speaking at home. Now you can speak here,’ slurred Blatter.

LGBT campaigners and readers of Gay Star News slammed Blatter’s comments.

Georges Azzi, the executive director for the Arab Foundation for Freedoms and Equality, told GSN: ‘Qatar is not only criminalizing homosexuality but also funding ultra conservative islamist movements and is a leading country in pushing towards intolerant agendas and laws that are oppressive to women and LGBT people.

‘But I guess money comes before the morals.’

Joseph Aoun, manager of Beirut’s gay bar Bardo commented to GSN: ‘If Blatter accepts discrimination in Qatar under the name of morality, well our world morality makes us believe that he’s a retarded person who should retire from his official position.’

Human rights campaigner, Franck Zanni said: ‘This is outrageous. FIFA should be instrumental in helping closeted gay football players come out and contribute to keep homophobia out of sports arenas.

‘Because of statements and stances like these, it is heading in the opposite direction and this is wrong.’

Readers of Gay Star News also slammed Blatter’s comments.

Neil Pearson said: ‘Is he suggesting homosexuality is immoral? So the “moral high ground” would be to persecute and discriminate?’

And Barrie Gabbott stated: ‘Being gay is not a moral or an ethical issue – it is the same as race, it is not chosen or developed because of culture, but a natural part of humanity.

‘Religion is chosen and is part of ones upbringing and environment.

‘In his position of authority he should be clear and condemn of any form of abuse wherever and whenever it occurs.’

HAVE YOUR SAY

MORE TOP STORIES

No thumbnail available

Melissa Etheridge's ex files court papers to stop the singer from taking their kids on concert tour

Tammy Lynn Michaels concerned kids will be exposured to topless groupies and marijuana
No thumbnail available

Russia's assurances anti-gay laws won’t apply to Winter Olympics has skeptics

HRC's Chad Griffin says 'verbal assurances from the Russian government ... are not enough'
No thumbnail available

Pope says gay people are not fully developed humans

Head of the Catholic Church says family is threatened by a 'defection in human nature'
No thumbnail available

EastEnders stars cast in tour of UK's biggest gay play

West End run also expected for Britain’s favorite gay play, telling the story of teens Jamie and Ste finding love on a London council estate
No thumbnail available

Elizabeth II named ‘Queen of Fags’ by Westboro Baptist Church

After signing gay marriage into law in England and Wales, the 'God Hates Fags' church claims the great-grandmother of the Royal Baby is a 'fag-enabler'
No thumbnail available

US soap actress comes out in real life as her character also revealed to be gay

Joanna Johnson of The Bold and The Beautiful says: 'It's time to live a fully authentic life'
No thumbnail available

Star Trek star Zachary Quinto says gay marriage is 'unstoppable wave' in the US

'I think we have a lot more work to do, but I think everybody's unified behind the cause'
No thumbnail available

Father of suicide gay teen walking across US to spread bullying message

Jadin Bell, a 15-year-old from Oregon, hanged himself on an elementary school playground after homophobic bullying
No thumbnail available

HomoLAB 95

Sitting on the grass in Camden, Jen, Baylen, and Lucio discuss Everyday Lesbophobia with the Editor of Diva, Jane Czyzselska.
No thumbnail available

Emmerdale star Kelvin Fletcher on his 'saucy' gay fans

'Some of them are pretty explicit in the things they say, especially on Twitter'