Russians tell gay World Cup fans: ‘You’ll be hunted down and stabbed’

MARSEILLE, FRANCE - JUNE 11: England fans clash with Russian fans ahead of the game against Russia later today on June 11, 2016 in Marseille, France. Football fans from around Europe have descended on France for the UEFA Euro 2016 football tournament. (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)

Gay football fans have been warned that they will be hunted down and attacked if they go to the World Cup.

Last week, LGBT football fans were “strongly” warned to not “publicly display sexuality” at the World Cup.

The Football Supporters’ Federation said that queer fans should not hold hands or be affectionate towards their partner in public, to ensure their safety.

MOSCOW, RUSSIA - JUNE 9: Russian soccer fans shout in front of the Kremlin as they watch the Russian soccer team lose to Japan in a televised 2002 World Cup match in Moscow, Russia. The fans rioted after learning that Russia lost to Japan 1-0 during 2002 Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) World Cup H match play at International Stadium in Yokohama, Japan. Cars near the Kremlin were set on fire and destroyed. At least one person was killed during the rampage. (Photo by Oleg Nikishin/Getty Images)

(Oleg Nikishin/Getty)

And the dangers for supporters who are open with their sexuality have been highlighted by activists, who have reported death threats to the police.

Pride in Football campaign leader Joe White told the Mirror: “We’ve had people say that if they find us they’ll stab us, so it’s been a mixture but they’re being dealt with seriously and those investigations are still ongoing.”

Russian Government minister Mikhail Degtyarev has estimated that around two million people will visit Russia during the World Cup.

Groups of supporters clash fight at the end of the Euro 2016 group B football match between England and Russia at the Stade Velodrome in Marseille on June 11, 2016. / AFP / Valery HACHE (Photo credit should read VALERY HACHE/AFP/Getty Images)

Supporters fight at the end of the Euro 2016 match between England and Russia (VALERY HACHE/AFP/Getty)

White told PinkNews that FIFA was “at least pushing the Russian authorities on investigating the threats and they now have, alongside UEFA, sexual orientation and gender identity rights as part of the bidding process.

“But it is ridiculous that they gave the World Cup to Russia and Qatar.”

The 2022 World Cup will be in Qatar, where homosexuality is illegal.

But despite the threats and cautionary advice from advocates, White refused to be cowed.

The activist told the Mirror that the guidelines “had to be very cautious”, but that he was out and proud, and would continue to be.

“I could go out and almost go back into the closet and act butch, but that kind of plays exactly into what we are trying to show is an issue,” said White.

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