Uganda to host 2017 World Cross Country Championships despite anti-gay laws

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Adding to the list of countries with anti-gay laws allowed to host professional athletics events, Uganda will be hosting the 2017 World Cross Country Championships.

The country beat Bahrain for the honour of hosting the biennial event, which will take place on 23 March at the Kololo Ceremonial Grounds.

Over 700 athletes and hundreds of journalists are expected to attend.

Uganda last year passed an anti-gay law which imposed tough penalties for anyone convicted of “aggravated homosexuality.” The law was found unconstitutional earlier this year, but a new draft is expected to pass through the legislature soon.

A new, harsher version of Uganda’s anti-gay law could effectively make all gay and lesbian people homeless.

The new bill includes language which potentially criminalises any landlord or owner or renter of a property where an “unnatural act [gay sex]” takes place.

It criminalises anyone who “leases or subleases, uses or allows to be used any premises for the purpose of engaging in unnatural sexual practices.”

The announcement that the 2017 World Cup will take place in Russia, and the 2022 World Cup will take place in Qatar, despite both countries having anti-gay laws, has caused controversy. Both countries were cleared to host the competition earlier this month.