Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Football for all?

Fifa president Sepp Blatter's philosophy is clearly emblazoned across the footballing authority's website.

"Football for all; all for football".

Strange then that such a media-savvy head of a multimillion pound industry should make a mockery of the gay rights issue to a room full of reporters.

Blatter joked that gay people should simply "refrain from any sexual activities" during the Qatar 2022 World Cup so as to avoid draconian punishments.

His comments have since been widely reported and Blatter has rightly spent the last few days defending his misguided and downright offensive comments to the world's media.

It is yet further evidence that leadership on the subject is not going to come from world football's governing body.

Fifa has long come under fire as being an authority with more security guards than common sense.

It makes most of its decisions behind closed doors in the glamorous surroundings of Geneva and, as the BBC Panorama documentary proved recently, any challenge to its hierarchy is regarded as blasphemous.

It is a strange situation for Blatter to be in, given that he is more used to blowing his own trumpet.

The reason the much-more impressive and practical bids from England and Australia were overlooked for 2018 and 2022 respectively was due to his vision of a "global game".

Surely it would be more fitting for a global game to promote equality rather than alienating tens of thousands of fans and players who may feel they are being driven away from the sport they love.

We have already said that a boycott of Qatar 2022 is not the answer.

But, would you feel comfortable travelling to a country where your sexuality could see be publicly beaten or thrown in prison?

Now is the time for us to highlight these issues - write a letter, contact your local decision makers, get involved with the Justin Campaign - all these things can help make a difference and hopefully reclaim football from the authorities who quite clearly do not promote the ethos "football for all".

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