With Qatar being awarded the 2022 FIFA World Cup, there’s warranted furor over the Arab nation’s on-going criminalization of homosexuality, where same-sex relations can land you in jail for five years. So what does FIFA President Sepp Blatter suggest gay athletes and fans should do during the tournament? Abstain.
If soccer is a sport that’s supposedly intent on ridding homophobia from the fields, why did Qatar — which makes being gay, or at least “behaving gay,” a crime — get FIFA’s approval? Not because of money, insists Blatter. And if gays don’t want to be sent to prison in Qatar, they should simply keep things zipped up, says Blatter with a smile. “They should refrain from any sexual activities,” he told reporters in Johannesburg. Such sage advice!
But it’s not like Blatter wants gays to simply not go. “It’s another culture and another religion, but in football we have no boundaries,” he insists. “We open everything to everybody and I think there shall not be any discrimination against any human beings, being on this side or that side, left or right or whatever. Football is a game that does not affect any discrimination. You may be assured … if people want to watch a match in Qatar in 2022, they will be admitted to matches.”
Qatar (and Russia) were selected to host future World Cups during a Dec. 2 vote, and this is the first time Blatter has addressed public outrage of effectively endorsing homophobic nations. Something tells me his suggestion won’t go over well.