LGBT+ football fans warned not to ‘publicly display sexuality’ at World Cup

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks prior to the start of the Final Draw for the 2018 FIFA World Cup football tournament (MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP/Getty Images)

Queer football fans have been “strongly” warned to not “publicly display sexuality” at the Russian World Cup.

LGBT+ fans should not hold hands or be affectionate towards their partner in public to ensure their safety, say the Football Supporters’ Federation.

“It is strongly understood and advised that you do not publicly display your sexuality,” the Federation wrote in a post advising queer fans.


“With any trip abroad it is essential to understand your destination’s cultural and ideological beliefs. Whilst often you are able to behave as you would in the UK, certain things must be treated with caution in societies less tolerant than back home.”

The post may offer guidelines on personal safety for fans, but it appears to be confused over whether or not fans should wave rainbow flags.

“Russian FA’s equality officer, Alexei Smertin, advised there would be no ban on rainbow colours in Russia and fans would not be victimised for expressing feelings, although it is widely believed this could depend on individual circumstances,” the post reads.

St Petersburg Pride in Russia


Trans fans are also advised to find someone to attend the toilet with them, or to go to a disabled toilet if possible.

“Going to the toilet is a specific concern for trans people going to Russia for the World Cup,” the post reads.

“We advise that you judge the situation on a case by case basis. If you do not feel safe, try and find a fellow fan to accompany you. If there is a disabled toilet and you are alone, that could be the safest option.”


LGBT+ campaigner Peter Tatchell said that appointing Russia as the World Cup host nation has “greatly increased the anxiety of gay fans.”

“The only thing football fans should have to worry about is the strength and progress of their team and yet the decision to award Russia the football World Cup has greatly increased the anxiety of gay fans. Russia is not safe for LGBT+ people. It is a toxic homophobic environment,” Peter Tatchell wrote on the Peter Tatchell Foundation website.

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