John Amaechi: ‘FIFA boss must apologise for gay remarks’

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Gay basketball star John Amaechi has condemned the head of FIFA for saying that gay football fans should not have sex in Qatar.

Speaking at a press conference yesterday, Sepp Blatter appeared to laugh at concerns that Qatar, the host of the 2022 World Cup, is deeply homophobic.

When asked how gay fans could visit the country for the event, he joked: “I would say they should refrain from any sexual activities.”

Qatar punishes homosexuality with five years in jail and lashes.

Amaechi, who came out in 2007, said he was “enraged” at the comments and had made a complain to FIFA.

He said: “The statements and the position adopted by Sepp Blatter and FIFA regarding LGBT fans who would pay the enormous ticket and travel prices to attend the World Cup in 2022 should have been wholly unacceptable a decade ago.

“Instead, with little more than an afterthought, FIFA has endorsed the marginalisation of LGBT people around the world.

“Anything less than a full reversal of [Blatter’s] position is unacceptable and if the FA and football and sporting associations around the world fail to acknowledge this insult, they too will be complicit.”

Amaechi added: “Blatt’s [sic] words aren’t really about sex. . . Rather, what Blatt is really saying is ‘don’t be camp… don’t hold hands… don’t look into each others eyes… don’t book rooms with one bed… don’t have candle-lit dinners in the restaurant…’ and so on.”

Meanwhile, the Gay Football Supporters’ Network said Blatter should resign.

Chris Basiurski, chair of the GFSN, said: “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.”