FIFA President Sepp Blatter sparked outrage Tuesday commenting on World Cup 2022 host Qatar's laws on homosexuality. When a reporter asked for Blatter's response to gay soccer fans who might be afraid to attend the tournament in a country where homosexuality is illegal, Blatter quipped that gay fans traveling to Qatar for the World Cup in 2022 should probably "refrain from any sexual activities." Blatter quickly clarified: "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." Nevertheless, a video clip of the interview, which starts with his apparent joke, spread among gay rights groups--who did not find it funny.
FIFA has already received complaints from former British NBA player John Amaechi and the Gay Football Support Network, among others. According to the Manchester Evening News, Amaechi reacted to Blatter's response by saying "if sport cannot serve to change society, even temporarily during the duration of an event like the World Cup that invites the world to participate, then it is little more than grown men chasing a ball and we should treat it as such." GFSN Chair Chris Basiurski called for Blatter to either retract his statement and apologize or resign from his position.