Only a month and a bit to go people.
Thursday, 30 December 2010
Wednesday, 29 December 2010
Tuesday, 14 December 2010
"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".
Boycotting the World Cup in 2022 is not the answer for LGBT supporters angry at Fifa for awarding the event to Qatar.
That was the message today from Jason Hall - founding director of The Justin Campaign, which aims to rid football of homophobia.
"We should encourage LGBT people to go over to Qatar and rub salt in the wounds," said Hall. "There's no point shunning it (the World Cup) and pretending it doesn't exist."
The Gay Football Supporters Network (GFSN) last week called for an LGBT boycott of "all activities associated with World Cup 2022."
However, Hall believes that the issue of gay rights in Qatar would simply be swept under the carpet if LGBT fans chose not to attend.
"There's a lot less to talk about if we (LGBT people) aren't there," Hall said. "But if thousands of us head over, it would make a lot more impact than simply saying: 'Well, we're not going.'
"It wouldn't register with the wider community if we didn't go. And at least people in Qatar will experience gay people in their country and it would give hope to LGBT people living there. I would love something like the Gay Games or another gay sporting event to be held in Qatar at the same time as the World Cup."
He added: "If taking some lashings and getting six months in prison is the price I have to pay, then so be it."
"The World Cup didn't go to South Africa during the apartheid years and it shouldn't go to Russia or Qatar now.
"There is a sexual apartheid taking place in Qatar right now, and Russia's not much better - they have a terrible record there with regards to LGBT rights. To give World Cups to countries where apartheid is still happening is unacceptable."
Friday, 10 December 2010
A key aspect of The Justin Campaigns work is to challenge the negative stereotypes around LGBT people in society and in particular, sport.
Negative stereotypes that portray gay men as weak, effeminate and promiscuous are all to common in society. They are perpetuated throughout our education system, our industry and our media.
Is it really possible to counter negative stereotyping around LGBT people effectively? How can we impact upon the problem adequately when the exposure of our youth to these stereotypes is an everyday fact of life, one that we seemingly have no control over?
One solution might be to engage our youth with more positive representations of LGBT people that reveal our diversity and our strengths. Positive representations that reveal the contradictions that exist between the stereotype and the real person.
Does the occasional football coaching session, where young men & women are introduced to gay and bisexual coaches, contrary to familiar stereotypes, help to the debunk entrenched ideas about who gay and bisexual people are?
Possibly, but what happens afterwards, when our children turn on their computers or their TV's, go to the cinema, read the paper, a magazine, a book....
Is all our hard work undone?
The fact is that these stereotypes, the building blocks for hatred against LGBT people in society, are pervasive throughout our media. A media which relies on the heterosexual logic of its audience to provoke laughter at the expense of LGBT people.
Collective efforts to educate children on the fallacy of such stereotypes are welcome and should continue but these efforts need to be combined with proper strategy and actions that hold our media to account on their portrayal of LGBT people.
Perhaps then, after engaging our youth on the pitch and giving them a run for their money we can rest assured that they head home to some positive reinforcement rather than the negative portrayal of LGBT people they face day after day.
Monday, 6 December 2010
Dozens of footballers united in a tournament which was truly representative of all aspects of the beautiful game.
Twelve teams from across the south of England took part in the the third annual Justin Fashanu Cup.
The invitational tournament, which was organised by the Justin Campaign, saw both men and women and members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans community all participating.
The event was also a protest against the decision of Fifa to award the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar respectively - countries which have appalling records on homophobia.
The highlight of the weekend event in Hove was a six-a-side tournament.
BN Elite won the men's tournament and The Tigers won the female competition.
On the Saturday evening, all the teams gathered to take part in a table football competition and enjoyed an evening of live music.
Jason Hall, founder of the Justin Campaign said: "It was a terrific event. One which was truly representative of all people who love football.
"It was brilliant to see so many people enjoy themselves while promoting such an important issue.
"With the Fifa announcement it was also right that we brought to attention the awful human rights records of both Russia and Qatar and the effect it would have on members of the LGBT community who may want to travel to be spectators at this event."
The tournament will now become a travelling competition with the next event likely to be held in Trowbridge, Wiltshire.
For more pictures stay tuned to the blog or see our Flickr page.
Friday, 3 December 2010
The Justin Campaign is deeply concerned by FIFA's decision to award the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar respectively.
Both of these countries have extremely poor records on the issue of LGBT rights. Only last year, the mayor of Moscow deemed a gay pride march in the capital as "satanic", while participants in the march, including Peter Tatchell, were arrested.