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FIFA urged to tackle anti-gay laws in Russia, Qatar before World Cups

FIFA urged to tackle anti-gay laws in Russia, Qatar before World Cups

International football federation FIFA are being asked to tackle the anti-gay policies of future World Cup host countries Russia and Qatar.

Russia, who will host in 2018, has come under fire for their ‘gay propaganda’ laws and Qatar, who will host in 2022, is one of the few countries where homosexuality is still illegal.

Therefore there are concerns about the safety of soccer players, fans, journalists and tourists and the potential discrimination they could face in these countries.

FIFA president Sepp Blatter is expected to address this issue at a meeting in Zurich on 12 September.

However, Blatter himself has not been a supporter of gay rights in recent years. In 2011 he was quoted as saying gay people should ‘refrain from sexual activity’ at the 2022 World Cup.

European anti-discrimination group Football Against Racism in Europe has spoken about the situation: ‘The meeting is driven by issues of race, quite rightly, but we also have to make sure there is consideration of homophobia and other issues of discrimination.

‘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.’

Human rights campaigners are already protesting Russia should not be hosting the 2014 Winter Games because of their homophobic policies and some even propose a boycott.

British broadcaster Stephen Fry has even called for an ‘absolute ban’ on the games saying Putin is ‘making scapegoats of gay people’.