Statement by NCLR Sports Project Director Helen Carroll

(San Francisco, CA, December 14, 2010)—On December 13, 2010, Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) President Sepp Blatter told reporters that lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender fans who plan on attending the 2022 World Cup in Qatar “should refrain from any sexual activities” while in Qatar, which criminalizes sexual intimacy between same-sex partners. FIFA is a global organization comprised of 208 member associations.

The World Cup, the world’s most widely viewed sporting event with more than 700 million viewers, attracts fans from around the globe.

A statement by NCLR’s Sports Project Director Helen Carroll:

“FIFA President Sepp Blatter’s statement betrays a shocking disregard for the plight of countless LGBTQ people who face discrimination and violence in Qatar and other countries with anti-LGBTQ laws. Blatter should be working to assure LGBTQ soccer fans and players that the 2022 World Cup will be welcoming to all. The LGBTQ world community expects and deserves not only an apology, but a commitment that FIFA will work to guarantee that all LGBTQ fans will be able to enjoy the World Cup in dignity and safety.”

The National Center for Lesbian Rights is a national legal organization committed to advancing the civil and human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and their families through litigation, public policy advocacy, and public education.