Football

LGBT Fans Warned That Russian World Cup Will Be "Dangerous"

LGBT Fans Warned That Russian World Cup Will Be "Dangerous"

LGBT fans travelling to next summer's World Cup have been warned to monitor their behaviour in public places should they travel to Russia for the event.

While sexual oppression is not illegal in Russia, Piara Powar, the executive director of Fare (an organisation committed to tackling discrimination in football), has reiterated that "gay people have a place in Russia which is quite hidden and underground."

Spearheading an advisory guide that will demonstrate what behaviour LGBT fans should refrain from when in Russia, Powar's warnings highlight the disturbing reality that faces many minority fans in Russia:

The guide will advise gay people to be cautious in any place which is not seen to be welcoming to the LGBT community. The same message is there for black and ethnic minority fans - do go to the World Cup but be cautious.

If you have gay fans walking down the street holding hands, they will face danger in doing so - that depends on which city they are in and the time of day.

While being gay is not a crime in Russia, there is a law against promoting homosexuality to minors. As such, public discourse on LGBT matters is forbidden.

Ahead of Russia's hosting of the World Cup issues regarding their suitability have largely focused on the nation's questionable approach to certain humanitarian issues.

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Yet, although FIFA have been made aware of such issues in previous instances, Powar is not convinced that minority fans travelling to the tournament can rely on football's governing body:

There is no offence of homophobia in FIFA's rules and we have made clear that there should be.

It is critical there is a clear message about FIFA's ability to act in these cases against the fans that are responsible.

Issues that will by no means unique to the World Cup in Russia, it is nonetheless incredibly dispiriting that such measures will be required at an event that FIFA lauds for its ability to bring the world together.

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Arthur James O'Dea

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