FIFA Questions 2018 World Cup Hosts Russia on Anti-Gay Law

With less than one year until the 2014 FIFA World Cup, the international soccer governing body has its sights set on 2018.  In a report from The Associated Press, FIFA has asked 2018 hosts Russia to clarify new legislation which forbids “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations among minors.”  The law targets anyone encouraging minors to engage in any sexual activity which is not between man and woman.

FIFA released a statement on Tuesday stating Russia has “committed to provide all visitors and fans with a warm welcome and ensure their safety,” and FIFA “trusts that the 2018 FIFA World Cup hosts will deliver on this promise.”  The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is also questioning this new anti-gay law and how Russia will enforce the law in the upcoming Winter Olympics; Russia is set to host the 2014 Olympics this February.

FIFA has taken various steps to expel discrimination of all kinds from the worldwide sport.  Various incidents of discrimination have occurred at soccer events across the world among players and fans.  Since 2002, FIFA has begun anti-discrimination efforts which include Anti-Discrimination Days as well as the “Say no to racism” campaign.  According to FIFA’s official website, Article 3 of the FIFA Statutes states:

Discrimination of any kind against a country, private person or group of people on account of ethnic origin, gender, language, religion, politics or any other reason is strictly prohibited and punishable by suspension or expulsion.

Anti-gay discrimination falls under this statute.  FIFA maintains that it has “zero tolerance against discrimination,” and will likely to continue press Russia on the law. FIFA President Sepp Blatter was criticized after Qatar’s successful 2022 World Cup bid when he asked gay soccer fans to “refrain from any sexual activities” while attending the World Cup in the Gulf nation.

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