Blatter awaits Russian answer on anti-gay law
FIFA President Sepp Blatter expects a reply within days from
Russia, the 2018 World Cup host, clarifying its law prohibiting gay
Blatter told The Associated Press on Sunday that he asked ”by
letter and by personal contacts” up to Russian President Vladimir
Putin for details about legislation that has provoked an
international outcry leading to the 2014 Sochi Olympics.
”The office of Mr. Putin has promised to me that they will send
all these documents in the first days of September,” Blatter said.
”And I have also asked the Swiss embassy to look and to help us to
obtain the correct versions of that.”
Russia’s law prohibiting promotion of ”nontraditional” sexual
relations has been denounced by activists and criticized by
President Barack Obama.
Soccer’s governing body joined the IOC in asking Russia how the
law would apply during their events, and if athletes and fans face
”For the time being we have received only protests and demands
from our football, sports or Olympics people. I have received
nothing officially from the Russians,” said Blatter, who is also
an International Olympic Committee member.
FIFA legal statutes state that discrimination is ”punishable by
suspension or expulsion” for individuals in football or member
”When you speak with the Russians, they don’t speak about
discrimination, they speak about protection (of minors). That is
different. I said, `So please give me the evidence that you are
protecting somebody and not discriminating,”’ Blatter told the AP
on the sidelines of his annual charity soccer tournament in his
family’s home village.
Blatter intends to table the issue at an Oct. 3-4 meeting of the
27-member FIFA executive committee, which includes Russia’s sports
minister, Vitaly Mutko.
Blatter said he expects to meet with Mutko on 2018 World Cup
business before the board meeting in Zurich.
He also offered to help the IOC deal with Russian authorities,
and support the Olympic body’s new president who will be elected in
a Sept. 10 vote that Blatter will attend in Buenos Aires,
Last Thursday, the IOC announced it had a reply from Russia to
clarify how the law would operate around the Feb. 7-23 Winter
”We have today received strong written reassurances from the
Russian government that everyone will be welcome at the games in
Sochi regardless of their sexual orientation,” outgoing IOC
President Jacques Rogge said in a statement.
Still, the letter did not address directly what would happen to
Olympic athletes or fans if they make statements or gestures that
Russian authorities consider propaganda.