The GFSN is not amused by FIFA Chief Sepp Blatter’s “joke” that LGBT people should “refrain from any sexual activities” during the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
Mr. Blatter’s laughter at the issue demonstrates once again that he and FIFA are not taking seriously the LGBT community’s concerns about the tournament being held in a country where homosexual activity is criminalised.
His comments also demonstrate a complete lack of awareness and a lack of respect for the struggles faced by LGBT people across the world.
Chris Basiurski, Chair of the GFSN says:
“Many LGBT people live in countries where they would face execution or imprisonment if discovered, these people deserve our help, our respect and our support. They, like the rest of us, do not deserve to be laughed at. Mr. Blatter should retract his remarks and apologise immediately. Otherwise, he should reconsider his position and resign.”
Mr. Blatter is naive to think that by taking the beautiful game to Qatar, it will bring an end to discrimination in the Middle East. He says that football is ‘everything for everyone’ but he has not yet explained just how FIFA is going to ensure that LGBT football players and supporters will be welcome in Qatar.
With the help of ‘Kick it Out’ we are making considerable progress to tackle the issue of homophobia in football in the UK but Sepp Blatter’s remarks show there is still much to be done.
As UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon said last week:
“Where there is tension between cultural attitudes and universal human rights, universal human rights must carry the day. Personal disapproval, even society’s disapproval, is no excuse to arrest, detain, imprison, harass or torture anyone – ever.”