Sepp Blatter says homosexuality is a 'moral and ethical' issue

By Richard ConwayBBC Sport in Mauritius
Blatter on homophobia in Qatar

Fifa president Sepp Blatter has said Qatar's stance on homosexuality is a "moral and ethical" issue.

Homosexuality is illegal in the Gulf state, due to host the 2022 World Cup.

Fifa has passed tough new sanctions to clamp down on racism and all forms of discrimination within the game.

But asked about gay fans and players hoping to attend in 2022, Blatter said: "What you are speaking about, I do not think it is part of racism, perhaps this is going into ethics and morals."

He continued: "This, I think, is not the time being to bring it now. If you bring it to my attention then I should have a look on that.

"But I cannot give you a definite answer."

Blatter has previously drawn criticism on the issue. Asked in December 2010 to give advice to gay fans wishing to attend the tournament, he said: "I'd say they should refrain from any sexual activities."

The 77-year-old later apologised for his comments.

Blatter also risked criticism for comments made while congratulating the new female members of the Fifa executive committee, who were elected on Friday.

Lydia Nsekera, president of the Burundi Football Association, became the first woman to be handed a full four-year term on the powerful executive committee when she won a vote at the Fifa congress in Mauritius.

The other candidates, Asian Football Confederation vice-president Moya Dodd and Concacaf representative Sonia Bien-Aime, were co-opted to the committee for a one-year period.

During his closing remarks, Blatter appealed for a round of applause for the trio, adding: "Are there ladies in the room? Say something! You are always speaking at home, now you can speak here."

Blatter had earlier described Dodd as a "good looking" candidate.