Sepp Blatter in hot water for making ‘gay joke’

Wednesday, 15 December 2010 00:10 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Fifa president Sepp Blatter is at the centre of more controversy after suggesting that homosexual supporters should “refrain from any sexual activities” during the 2022 World Cup in Qatar

Blatter, who was speaking yesterday in Johannesburg at the launch of a post-2010 World Cup legacy project, has come in for criticism following a decision by the sport’s world governing body to take the competition to the Middle East for the first time.

Apart from the searing temperatures expected during the finals time of June and July, there could also be other problems with hosting the competition in an Islamic country.

Current laws mean drinking alcohol in public is forbidden, while bars and nightclubs are almost non-existent. Another issue could be public affection, and gay groups fear problems in a country where homosexuality is illegal.

When asked about such issues, Blatter, apparently joking, said: “I would say they should refrain from any sexual activities.”

He continued on a more serious note, saying: “We are definitely living in a world of freedom and I’m sure when the World Cup will be in Qatar in 2022, there will be no problems.

“You see in the Middle East the opening of this culture, it’s another culture because it’s another religion, but in football we have no boundaries.

“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.”

Meanwhile, the Football Association nominations committee leading the search for a new chairman met yesterday to consider a list of potential candidates to succeed Lord Triesman.

They have just nine days before recommending a candidate to the main FA board.

David Dein, the former Arsenal vice-chairman is a leading candidate but his interest is thought to be conditional.

It remains to be seen if Sir Keith Mills, deputy chairman of London 2012, can be persuaded to step forward. (