FIFA Chief Sepp Blatter: If Gays Fear Qatar’s Homophobic Laws, They Should Abstain During World Cup

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.

Get Queerty Daily

Subscribe to Queerty for a daily dose of #fifa #fifaworldcup #football stories and more



    Simply put FIFA is a corrupt organization and these kinds of decision are dependent on bribery(see Russia 2018). Expecting ethics to trump money isn’t gonna work here regardless of any public outcry.

  • Steve

    I want this to blow up in his face.

    I’d love to see every gay soccer player come out and refuse to go. Or see the teams say no because they don’t endorse homophobia.

    But alas, that would be a perfect world.

    Technically, in a perfect world, Qatar’s current laws wouldn’t exist.

  • Polyboy

    Bought and paid for.

  • Devon

    Or they could just boycott the entire event and encourage everyone who doesn’t support criminalized homosexuality to do the same…

    I dunno, just a thought.

  • skzip888

    Reason why sports shouldn’t matter #437.

  • Eminent Victorian

    It would be nice if people in the soccer/futbol/football world (players, coaches, reporters) would openly speak out against crap like this. I don’t think threatening a boycott is out of the question, either.

  • Luis

    Lol, by 2022, most of the European teams (and their players) will be so pro gay that I do think that a boycott is not out of the question.

    This will indeed blow up on his successors face (by 2022 Blatter will be dead or close to it).

  • Kev C

    I hope Qatar has enough prisons for all the gays who will be filling their country with gay sex, public kissing, gay porn, rainbow flags, obscene T-shirts and colorful drag queens.

  • j

    @Kev C: Something tells me in a conservative muslim country things would be that peachy. Although your makin this sound like an underground party I definitely wanna go to :P

  • jason

    Sepp Blatter is a pig who was trying to rationalize away FIFA’s appalling decision to award Qatar the 2022 World Cup. I hope soccer fans boycott it. FIFA itself has allegations against it that are very unsavory.

  • reason

    I think FIFA sending the world cup there is an excellent idea, it is going to force Qatar to take human rights seriously. I highly doubt that Qatar is going to throw tons of GBLT and jail and risk destroying their image in such a public forum. There focus is going to be to try to host the best world cup possible and gain admiration like South Africa did. Soccer helps to bridge gaps, in South Africa the crime rate declined drastically and you saw people from different races and classes coming together. A huge influx of foreigners in Qatar is going to change perceptions and challenge falsely held beliefs about westerners. For instance in Russia a pervasive view was that America was irredeemable racist, and things hadn’t really progressed past Jim Crow, imagine the shock when we elected an African American president. Most would be surprised at the lack of knowledge and incorrectly held views about foreigners in other countries. The whole idea of trying to close countries off to the rest of the world and expect that they will change is ludicrous.

  • the crustybastard


    Yeah. Nothing forces change of a culture of oppression like accommodating and rewarding it.

  • Charlie-o

    Do you actually think that hosting the World Cup will change Qatar’s record on human rights violations (and LGBT issues are just one part of the problem)? You think they’ll change Sharia because some Western tourists will be visiting for a month or so? Look how much improvement Nazi Germany made after hosting the 1936 Olympics.

    About 15 years ago, an American citizen was flogged and received six months in prison for homosexual activities. A few years later, three dozen filipinos were deported for being gay.

    What gets me is that so many in the progressive community (not to mention so many of us) seem to say it’s no big deal. Yeah, they have laws against us, but they’re not really going to enforce it (at least during the games). So just be cool – they’re not going to ask, so don’t you tell.

    To make things even more galling, Herr Blatter seems to think he’s worthy of a Nobel Prize. Unless the Nobel Committee adds categories for Homophobia or Organized Corruption, Blatter should not be recognized.

  • SteveC

    Email FIFA at [email protected]

    Tell them that unless FIFA can ensure that homosexuality is decriminalised in Qatar within the next 2 years, then you will be joining the campaign to ensure that Sponsors will also be boyoctting the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

    Brazil is the country where the next World Cup will be held in 2014. It is a gay friendly country.

    But a sporting event organised by an officially homophobic organisation like FIFA needs to be boycotted.

    Contact FIFA today.

    Qatar and Russia were awarded the World Cup because of bribes to FIFA.

    Do NOT like FIFA off the hook here.

  • Silver

    @Charlie-0: Exactly. When Germany hosted the Olympics, the SA had explicit instructions not to harass foreign LGBT visitors, the anti-LGBT signs were taken down for the duration and some gay bars/businesses were re-opened. Temporarily. We all know how that turned out. Qatar isn’t going to change their laws because of a world cup game. Soccer is all well and good, but come on. It’s a sporting event, not a world peace and tolerance summit.

  • rodrigo

    I bet Qatar’s wasn’t advertising this tidbit of their “culture” when they were bidding for the cup there in 2022.

    I always find it baffling how these nouveau riche countries like Dubai and Qatar claim to be so westernized and modern but there is always that “well you are in our country and we are Muslim so sharia law must be followed just because we are so family oriented”..either you are one thing or the other!

  • kokobean

    Ive read all your comments and all my eyebrow raising and side eyes are actually giving me a headache.
    You seriously think that the advertisers, soccer players and the fans will boycott Qatar because it is anti gay. Seriously?? Do you have any idea how much revenue this sport brings in? Do you know how many fans there are? Lets not get ahead of ourselves here into assuming people give that much of a shit about gay rights. I gotta tell you when i heard it was being hosted in first thought was heat and plenty of heat. It was not till i came to this website that i even thought of the muslim anti gay part. The best you can do here is just follow the country’s rules and dont get arrested. FIFA head is right unfortunately.

  • RomanHans

    SteveC, thanks very much for providing info to fight this idiot. I’m off to write my angry email.

  • ewe

    dont ask dont tell and dont do if you are gay is the message here. Shameful bigotry.

  • ewe

    just one more example of ignorant straight males spouting off about how they define homosexuality as purely a physical act. Jackwads are so out of touch with the reality of innate orientation and should be confronted by those who can spin words around their tiny brains. Why is someone like this a spokesman for fucking anything i know not!!!

  • SteveAtlanta

    actually have quite a few friends who are big soccer fans and they all said this host city win was fixed and paid for. They said Fifa had so many things go wrong with these last games that they basically needed the money and jumped the shark. NO ONE is planning a trip to Qatar. Not hetros, not Christians, certainly not athiests and no sane person from Westernized world is going there. Beyond the pretty pictures and brochures is a backward country that treats woman like pests, that is very militant and that will jail individuals for simply who they are. It is hotter than the dessert in July and their national soccer team is viewed as one of the worst in history as they have on two seperate occasions made goals ON THEMSELVES. Which is…about as bad as it gets in soccer. FIFA got money and lost their integrity.

  • James

    I am gay and lived most of my life in Qatar, though I am not a native to the country. I think a difference needs to be realised between the law and in some regards the practice and flexibility that actually exists out there.

    The country is fairly moderate in comparison to most gulf states, and there are gay cruising grounds that are widely known and not monitored because I think the police have better things to do with their time than running around catching homosexuals. The culture in general is very friendly and the Qatari people are fantastic. Whilst the laws do exist and should be changed, I don’t think the country will act on homosexuality during the world cup when the entire worlds attention is on it. I highly doubt that there will be any homophobic attacks on visitors and as long as gay couples use common sense and keep things to the privacy of their hotel rooms (which everyone should do regardless of sexuality)there will not be a problem.

    One enjoyable advantage of the culture is that you can walk up the street hand in hand with a male and not be assumed to be gay, but rather friends, which is actually more than I feel I can sometimes do in Western countries with a boyfriend, and I expect will be impossible to do in Russia. So basically, give Qatar a chance, changes will come eventually and attitudes on the ground are not as draconian the law suggests.

  • jason


    You make a good point. In the USA, where sodomy is not a crime, two men walking down the street holding hands is frowned upon. In Qatar, where sodomy is a crime, two men holding hands is considered quite normal.

    There’s something screwy about the USA, not just Qatar.

  • ewe

    @jason: so true. men of any orientation who love each other and can openly express that be it intimacy and/or friendship is dangerous to power. Gay people don’t tend to be pawns of an evil agenda thereby becoming the target of oppession. Lesbian women are not even recognized as existing. It’s pathetic.

  • Jim bob

    can’t turn burglars abstain for a few days? Let some of that butt stench air out.

  • Jim bob

    turd burglars

  • Enron

    Its a risky place to really be engaging in sexual activity. Please don’t honestly tell me the reason you travel everywhere is to look a piece. Blatter is partly right, but to put more emphasis on what he said, I would encourage heterosexual men to not engage in sexual activities with the locals either, even if you go with your wife, don’t kiss or hold her hands in public as these things are considered taboo there. The number one priority is your personal safety and I think that is what Blatter is trying make a point about.

    If it bothers you that much, stay home, go somewhere else.

  • Mike in Asheville

    Oh Jim Bob, and what has brought your sorry self to this VERY gay website? Hmmm? Sneaking cruises at the underwear boys in the ads? Is your manhood sooooo freaking small that the only you achieve self esteem is whining against those with the courage to express themselves?

  • [email protected]

    @Steve: @Steve: How many openly gay football players do you know? Can you name one? Football is an homophobic world. In my opinion, Russia is far more dangerous for gays than Qatar. Homossexuality is not illegal there but the country is full of neo-nazis. I wouldn’t like to be gay in Russia or in any other Eastern European country (apart from Czech Rep.). It’s scary. And most homophobic violence over there is linked to hardcore football fan groups. Just check what happened in Belgrade, Servia this year.

  • [email protected]

    Why didn’t anyone shout at Sepp Blatter “What are you laughting about? This is not funny, it was a serious question!” Mr. Blatter is a stupid homophobid jerk, not the kind that will call you names or sneer at you but the one for whom homossexuality is just a joke. What a bastard, just look at his stipid face, showing his yellow teeth. How much money did he get to bring the World cup to Qatar? Come on, even sex between straight unmarried couples is illegal there. Not to mention alcohol.

  • gessie

    It seems like very logical advice which was not meant to insult the gay community. I think people should stop being so sensitive. Someone asked him a question and he gave his advice. Jesus.

  • justnow

    @gessie: @[email protected]: you are gessie, if its not for the law its for the culture- people may not support gays if the law does like someone said about russia

  • ewe

    @gessie: You are rediculous to say that people who defend themselves from attack are being sensitive. Educate yourself. It is the haters that need to be put on the defense not the the intended victims they are targeting.

Comments are closed.