FIFA President: Criminalising homosexuality is a ‘moral’ issue

PinkNews logo surrounded by illustrated images including a rainbow, unicorn, PN sign and pride flag.

FIFA President Sepp Blatter has sparked anger by dismissing a question on the logistics of Qatar, a country in which homosexuality is illegal, hosting the World Cup.

The FIFA boss was discussing a clampdown on racism and other forms of discrimination in football, when he was asked how gay fans should deal with travelling to Qatar for the 2022 World Cup.

He responded: “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.”

He added: “I cannot give you a definite answer.”

Qatar punishes homosexuality with up to five years in prison or lashes. Gay football groups have said gay fans would be unable to travel to the Qatar for the games because of its oppressive laws.

The Gay Football Supporters’ Network said it would boycott all activities related to the 2022 World Cup, although LGBTory suggested that the attention on the country could persuade it to become more tolerant.

Blatter previously caused controversy in 2010 after being asked how gay fans should approach going to Qatar for the World Cup. He said: “I would say they should refrain from any sexual activities.” He later apologised.

Last month a Sky Sports News presenter was left embarrassed when he accidentally referred to Blatter as “queer” – when he meant to say ‘in the clear.’

David Cameron has said that, by hosting the World Cup, Qatar may be inspired to improve LGBT rights. While on a visit to the Gulf he said that there is “no place for homophobia in football” and that the games could be an “engine for social change”.