A leading international gay rights group demanded an official apology from FIFA on Tuesday following Sepp Blatter’s comment about homosexual fans traveling to Qatar for the 2022 World Cup.
The president of the world soccer governing body said Monday that gay fans “should refrain from any sexual activities” during the World Cup in Qatar, where homosexual behavior is illegal.
Juris Lavrikovs, communications director for the European branch of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association, said the comments were “very unfortunate and have left people deeply offended.”
“I think they should come out with a strong statement and not just wash it away,” Lavrikovs told The Associated Press. “We are talking about a very basic human right that is being violated.”
Blatter spoke in South Africa on Monday at the launch of a post-2010 World Cup legacy project. He was asked if he could foresee any cultural problems with the tournament being held in Qatar.
“I’d say they (gay fans) should refrain from any sexual activities,” he said, smiling.
“This is not a joke, this is a matter of life and death to people,” Lavrikovs said. “Qatar and more than 70 other countries in the world still criminalize individuals for homosexual relationships, and some countries even punish them by death sentence.
“It’s disappointing to see that an organization that is promoting the game, which in its statutes condemns discrimination of any kind, is coming out with comments like this.”
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Source photo: http://www.southafrika2010.de