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Is football 'one of the last bastions of prejudice against gays'?

Nuala McGovern Nuala McGovern | 12:23 UK time, Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Prominent sports journalist Richard Williams thinks so, calling homophobia in football 'the ugly prejudice that casts a shadow over the beautiful game'.

Williams sees football as 'out of step with the real world' when it comes to homosexuality and he thinks it matters because 'the special prominence of football in global culture gives it an unusual degree of influence' silencing players and allowing institutionalised homophobia to continue.

Now there is another football story in the news today. Thousands of you, all over the globe are tweeting about the comments of Fifa president Sepp Blatter.

Blatter has apparently joked that gay fans travelling to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar should "refrain from any sexual activities."

Gay rights groups have criticised the decision to award the tournament to Qatar, a country where homosexuality is illegal.  Blatter added: "I'm sure when the World Cup will be in Qatar there will be no problems."

Blatter also said:

You see in the Middle East the opening of this culture, it's another culture because it's another religion, but in football we have no boundaries. We open everything to everybody and I think there shall not be any discrimination against any human beings be it on this side or that side, be it left, right or whatever. What we want to do is open this game to all people to all cultures, and this is what we are doing in 2022
You can watch a longer version of Mr. Blatter's remarks here.

Some of you would not connect Blatter's comments to Williams' argument about  prejudice against gays in football and consider it simply an off-the-cuff remark or indeed a joke.

Others think the comments are symptomatic of  a larger problem within football. One of those people is gay former NBA player John Amaechi

The statements and the position adopted by Sepp Blatter and Fifa regarding LGBT fans who would pay the enormous ticket and travel prices to attend the World Cup in 2022 should have been wholly unacceptable a decade ago. Instead, with little more than an afterthought Fifa has endorsed the marginalisation of LGBT people around the world.

Are Blatter's comments acceptable to you?

They are to Thomas, he posted on the Telegraph website:

What Blatter said was perfectly reasonable, indeed common sense. If you visit a country, it's sensible and courteous to obey the local laws. You don't have to visit!

Do you agree with Thomas or John Amaechi? Do you think Qatar, as the host of an international event, needs to be more open and tolerant about the sexuality of their visitors?

How do you see Blatter's comments in respect to Richard Williams' article about insitiutionalised homophobia in football?


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