LGBT fans will be warned about holding hands in public and other outward displays of affection when in Russia for the World Cup 2018 next summer. A cautionary guide will be produced by Fare (Football Against Racism in Europe) a pressure group that campaigns for equality in football/soccer.
The guide will advise gay people to be cautious in any place which is not seen to be welcoming to the LGBT community,” FARE executive director Piara Powar
FARE has written to FIFA to ask if it would be possible for fans to hold LGBTQ rainbow flags in the stadium. While FIFA doesn’t allow for political flags, nothing in the regulations clearly state something like a rainbow flag would be banned.
Warnings also apply to black and ethnic minority fans, due to long-held concerns about the presence of nationalist groups in the country.
Being gay is not illegal in Russia but the country has a law banning teaching about homosexuality in schools and there are numerous cases where gay people from foreign countries have been attacked because of their sexuality.
A FIFA spokesman said football’s world governing body could not comment “on this planned guide on such short notice” but it “has a zero-tolerance approach to discrimination”.
Note: FIFA will place anti-discrimination observers in stadiums to spot incidents, something which was first tested at the Confederations Cup this year. The draw for Russia 2018 takes place in Moscow on Friday, with the tournament starting on June 14, 2018.
Author: David Vega