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Powar calls for FIFA to act over World Cup hosts´ homosexuality laws

1 November 2013 01:16

Anti-racism campaigner Piara Powar has called on FIFA to push World Cup hosts Qatar and Russia to change their laws on homosexuality.

Russia, hosts of the 2018 FIFA World Cup, this year passed a law banning homosexual propaganda, while any homosexual acts between males in Qatar, the 2022 hosts, are illegal.

Powar is the executive director of the FARE Network of anti-discrimination organisations working in football across 50 countries and he believes FIFA need to take a stand and force these countries to comply with 'social criteria'.

"I would hope FIFA are lobbying Qatar to change the law they have which outlaws homosexuality," Powar said.

"I would also hope that FIFA will continue to lobby the Russian LOC (Local Organising Committee) to make sure that anything that is repressive, that interferes with human kind and natural instincts that we have as human beings is dealt with.

"Because that's the power that FIFA have, FIFA can say to a country, to an LOC that wants to host an event, 'you can only have this if you meet certain social criteria'."

The threat of a boycott has been raised in relation to Russia's stance on gay rights and their perceived racism issue.

But Powar hopes the issue will not progress to the stage where athletes feel the need to boycott either the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics or the World Cup in 2018.

"I think it's up to us as campaigners, governing bodies and others to respond to that (threat)," he said.

"We need to try to make sure that we're not in this situation in the lead up to (Russia) 2018 where players feel that they have to boycott."

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