Friday, December 3, 2010

Press Release: World Cup Decision a ‘Particular Disappointment for Our Community’

LGBT campaigners were expressing disappointment at the choices of venue for the World Cup over the next decade.

FIFA, Football's governing body, announced yesterday that the World Cup competition would take place in Russia in 2018 and in Qatar in 2022. Both countries have dubious track records in respect of Human Rights in general and LGBT Rights in particular.

Tony Fenwick, co-chair of LGBT History Month said: “It seems a great shame that, at a time when there is real work beginning to happen to combat homophobia and transphobia in sport in general and football in particular, FIFA should award these prized honours to countries that leave a lot to be desired as regards their record on equal opportunities and human rights.”

Russia decriminalised homosexuality in 1993, but continues to deny same sex couples marriages, civil partnerships or any other legal recognition of their relationships. It has no legislation to protect LGBT citizens against discrimination, although it does allow homosexuals to serve in the armed forces. Moreover, Moscow Pride has consistently been banned and violence against marchers, including Peter Tatchell, has been ignored or condoned by the authorities.

Qatar operates Sharia law and same sex relationships are illegal and punishable by up to five years hard labour. An American citizen was convicted of homosexuality and sentenced to 6 months hard labour and 90 lashes in 1995. Later, there were mass arrests and deportations of Phillipinos for their alleged homosexual activity.

“I had no particular preference for the England bid,” continued Tony. “The English FA attended the LGBT History Month Pre-Launch and has announced its commitment to tackling homophobia on the terraces and on the pitch. But Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain and Portugal all have same-sex marriage and an excellent record on LGBT equality. To be honest, it feels like a kick in the teeth that this honour should be bestowed on two states that have a very dubious record on LGBT rights.”

There is hope, however, that the decision may encourage Russia and Qatar to improve their record on LGBT rights so that they might gain international kudos. FIFA’s decision, however, is final and it is not open to public scrutiny.

More on Wikipedia:
- LGBT Rights in Russia
- LGBT Rights in Qatar

No comments: