Sepp Blatter’s Slippery Slope

I was all ready to go. I had a decent little theory about the shirt sponsorship written down and I had some ginned up outrage planned, it was all set. Then I wake up this morning to find that everyone’s favorite benevolent football dictator (no, not Laporta, though that title might have applied last year) has used his bully pulpit to weigh in on human rights and his own ham-fisted morality ideals. Responding to criticism of FIFAs decision to hold the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, which has very strict laws concerning consensual homosexual conduct between adults, Blatter stated:

I would say they should refrain from any sexual activities. . . . 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.

With these comments, Blatter has not only pissed off a ton of commentators and groups, he’s also taking FIFA down a slippery slope that I am sure is inadvisable: not only setting your games up in Qatar under highly dubious circumstances, but then butting into the personal sexual lives of fans. Er, um, like I am going to let this slide.

Now before we move on, let me go ahead and address some of the more familiar canards that are going to crop up in response to this:

1. It was just a joke, stop being so sensitive. Please, go jump in a hole. Of course, it’s always so fun to joke about people being denied human rights so you can make money. If this was supposed to be a joke, then it was not funny. Making people feel unsafe to attend your event, oh so funny. Joking is one thing, discrimination is a bridge too far.

2. “Luke, this is a Barcelona Football Blog you idiot, why do we care what Blatter says?” Because Blatter is the leader of the footballing world, for better or worse. He is the face of the governing body to which all other governing bodies report, including UEFA and RFEF. It also matters because FC Barcelona is an international club that certainly has openly lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (collectively known in the US as “LGBT”) fans. Those fans do not deserve to be discriminated against for any reason, period, if they hope or want to attend the world’s greatest sporting spectacle. Likewise, any player on the club, present or past, who might be a closeted homosexual or has friends or family who are offended by these statements should not be subjected to the type of persecution that comments such as these effect. Make no mistake, these comments affect every fan, player, coach, and spectator of football, because they show the official custom that FIFA takes toward such matters: “Money is king, we don’t care about human rights.”

3. “What does it matter what Qatar does, FIFA cannot police everything.” Well yeah, that’s true, they can’t. But they also certainly should not go so far as to host THEIR event, the biggest sporting event in the world by far, in a place where the very fact of being homosexual is in itself illegal. This argument might hold more weight (though not much), if FIFA didn’t hail itself as the protector of the beautiful game, which has the power to change the fate of nations and of wars and the fortune of those that is contacts. FIFA has attempted to stamp out racism, with results, though I think they never go far enough in doing so. Something that would hurt the bottom line like imposing heavy fines and sanctions against federations, and therefore leagues and clubs, that tacitly or explicitly allow racism of any kind might do the trick. Then again, they risk pissing off that group and losing support. So “boo racism unless it might make for a financially sticky situation.”

The issue is that, rightly or wrongly, football is given a special place in many cultures around the world and has the power to make positive changes for the betterment of society, both locally and internationally. FIFA is right, it can and does help people. However, comments such as Blatter’s undermine any such goal and show the ugly truth of the matter: sports, and sadly football, have become one of the last arenas of the modern world where institutionalized homophobia still exists and is ok. This is of course not to say that many clubs are staunch opponents of such actions, and groups such as Redcard Homophobia are outspoken critics, but the truth still shows that, as far as I know, no major professional footballer in any upper league or on any national team has come out as openly gay recently, even though you can be most certainly assured that they exist and that having to hide who they truly are is a byproduct of what should be a bygone system that used to attack players for being born black or raised Jewish. For an institution that characterizes itself as some group hellbent on showing football to all corners of the earth, it sure is doing a wonderful job of alienating those that are different.

4. “You don’t know how it is there, you’ve never been to Qatar.” Yes, that’s true, I have never been there. Then again, I’ve also never been to Somalia, but I wouldn’t want to take a boat ride off the coast there either. Also, like you, I can read. Black letter law in Qatar states that homosexuality is illegal and may result in imprisonment. But then I hear, “but they never arrest anyone for it.” Ok, well why does Sepp Blatter then feel he has to tell homosexuals to stop being themselves for a month or so in 2022? If it’s just some crazy old law on the books that never gets prosecuted (as American anti-sodomy laws were prior to being ruled unconstitutional inLawrence v. Kansas), then why is Sepp tooting the discriminatory horn loud and clear? Most likely because he knows that he has chosen to set up the games (and make no mistake, Qatar as the choice was definitely his doing) in a place where homosexuality is outlawed and is not even seen as a cultural taboo, it’s seen as just plain wrong. Blatter knows this, he apparently does not care.

5. “Ah yes, but Qatar has higher tolerance for civil rights than other countries.” Er, ok? Is this an argument or are you just fishing? Qatar does in fact rank higher in terms of the civil rights it allows than many other Middle Eastern nations, but that’s neither here nor there, so put your strawman down. This is not about being a sore loser to Qatar’s bid or any such thing, it’s an issue about human rights and FIFA, not content simply to ignore the issue, openly politicking against a group with an immutable characteristic. Ugh.

The long story, short here is that this is a problem of FIFAs own doing. Instead of reaching toward those lofty characteristics that FIFA is always carping on and on about, Blatter basically made it even more difficult for homosexual players to be more open about their lifestyle, and that’s no mean feat. It has never been a simple process for any professional athlete, the two most notable seem to be John Amaechi, former NBA player, and Gareth Thomas, world-renowned Welsh rugby star. The Guardian also notes the story of Justin Fashanu, former footballer who openly admitted he was gay only to suffer reproach from the famous manager Brian Clough. His comming out led to a number of issues:

The sad chaos of Fashanu’s life, which ended by his own hand in 1998 at the age of 37, can be gauged by the list of clubs attached to his name. There were 22 in 19 years as his career spiralled out of control.

This is no laughing matter. Blatter’s comments were patently offensive, short-sighted, and above all stupid. The worst part of it all was that he knew it too. The first comment came out, and almost immediately some mitigating factor spews forth: “woah, let’s not offend Qatar, I mean, oh shit, um, but football is without borders, yes, without borders.” Are you fucking kidding me? Blatter openly passes on discrimination against gay people, but you know, maybe one day we will look back on this and laugh. Not that it’s going to change whether Qatar gets the World Cup, because they paid good money, so they most certainly will. And maybe, just maybe, through the goodness of their hearts, they’ll find it within themselves to stop discriminating within 12 years. Oh geez, thanks Sepp. Nice silver-lining there.

Amaechi has taken a stand against this, and may have said it best here:

The statements and the position adopted by Sepp Blatter and FIFA regarding LGBT fans who would pay the enormous ticket and travel prices to attend the World Cup in 2022 should have been wholly unacceptable a decade ago . . . Instead, with little more than an afterthought, FIFA has endorsed the marginalization of LGBT people around the world. If sport cannot serve to change society, even temporarily during the duration of an event like the World Cup, then it is little more than grown men chasing a ball and we should treat it as such. . . . He’s really saying don’t even ‘look’ gay, re-closet yourself and pretend the ties and love and affection you have for your partner or even some random bloke you might meet on your travels are gone for the whole time you are in Qatar.

Whether you personally like, know, or interact with homosexuals in your day-to-day life is inconsequential as to this discussion. Blatter stepped out of his realm and got in over his head into a discussion that he should never have been having in the first place. The slippery slope here is that FIFA is simply ignoring the elephant in the room of blatant discrimination, and even enabling it. This is not a game, at least not to the people this kind of ignorance affects. You may not feel personally offended here, but the precedent is here for FIFA, and possibly other feeder federations, to ignore and mock the rights of fans, players, coaches, and humans in general in order to get another dollar is not a road we want to go down.

Sepp Blatter should be ashamed. FIFA should be ashamed. We should speak out against such things as loudly as possible. I hope I have done that.

Editor note: I meant to add this originally but forgot to
Before taking a position on this if you are on the fence, please remember these things: while you may not be gay or even care for gay people, remember that there are certain parts of who we are as people that cannot be changed, and we are born that way. Then take yourself out of the situation completely, forget that you are white, straight, black, Russian, disabled, female, Muslim, Brazilian, lesbian, or whatever. These are immutable characteristics that I mentioned earlier: race, sex, age, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation, religion (or lack thereof); those things that cannot be changed and are inalienable to all of us. When you take yourself away and you realize that throughout history all of these factors have been discriminated against, and still are, in every country and culture.

That is why the philosopher John Rawls proposed his “Veil of Ignorance” when discussing morality and what rights should be afforded to people. Right now, you hopefully exist as a person who is free to marry who you want (not in most parts of America sadly), worship who / what you want, work where you want / can, and live where you so choose. However, imagine instead that you are distributing rights to an unknown group of people, how would you apportion them? Rawls in A Theory of Justice

[N]o one knows his place in society, his class position or social status; nor does he know his fortune in the distribution of natural assets and abilities, his intelligence and strength, and the like . . . .

In short, you apply rights as broadly as you can, because when you then enter that society, you have no idea whether you will be the one who is being oppressed. If by the birth lottery you were born, white, straight, American, healthy, are of voting age, own property, and Christian, you probably have the most broad rights in the country in 2010. Then again, if you are born black, straight, African, healthy, and of voting age, own no property, and may be Christian, you might have very broad rights, unless of course you’re entering American society in 1750. Then you are going to be in for terrible treatment.

Basically the end point is: don’t be so quick to judge others based on those characteristics, because you may find yourself being oppressed for something you cannot change, and then you would want someone to help you out.

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174 Comments

  1. ade
    December 15, 2010

    I love how this site deals with seemingly every aspect of football. Very well written. Keep up the good work!

  2. Jose
    December 15, 2010

    I have a feeling that there’s a wide range of topics that you could question Blatter on and find the same such idiotic responses.

    And the obnoxious facet to this story is how, going on many sports sites, the typical meat head reaction has been “well the President of FIFA is just telling people to follow the laws of the country they go to.”

    That being said, though Blatter’s response is offensive and you are right to call it out, he is right that repression of homosexuality (and other seemingly archaic laws in the Qatari books) won’t be a problem at the World Cup itself. Don’t underestimate the lengths to which Qatar will go to be accommodating and gracious hosts to the world for one month in 2022. They don’t want absolutely any incidents reported through the world media that make them seem like anything less than a socially progressive country. Of course, this begs the question of how well people are going to get to know the every-day Qatar, but that’s a discussion that’s probably comes 12 years too early.

    • blitzen
      December 15, 2010

      You are absolutely correct, Jose. I am certain there won’t be any incidents at the World Cup itself, as Qatar will be very anxious to look good on the world stage. In fact, I expect Qatar will be a lot safer for LGBT visitors than Russia will be (how come nobody is talking about Russia’s lousy human rights record?).

      Having said that, though, Sepp Blatter is an absolute tool and a disgrace. I’m sure he wishes this whole issue would just go away, but you know what, Sepp? It’s not going to.

  3. Auld Super
    December 15, 2010

    On point 2, it is for much much worse. Also I think he’s pissing off every right thinking person coming out with that crap. When Ireland were robbed in the world cup qualifier against france the FAI came out and asked for the game to be replayed, Blotter laughed in their faces, the guys a joke but with the way FIFA is run he will be there until HE decides he wants to go and not anyone else.

    I had a nightmare last night that Rosell sold the naming rights to the Camp Nou. After he sold the shirt I really wouldn’t be surprised if he did and all. What did we do to deserve this guy ? A. Voted him in.

  4. December 15, 2010

    Blatter’s joke is no doubt a mistake. Bad contex. Bad Timing.

    Though it is still obvious that there is an unfair nitpicking against Qatar while each and every country has laws and regulations offending certain group of people, have human right issues, and laws that are unsuitable for some.

    Regarding Homosexuality issue, I think hosting the world cup is an opportunity to discuss the matter with the Qatari. Thats the only way to make a difference. If anyone really think they are sleepless because those who don’t agree with them are attacking them, that’s disillusion. They have their belief about the matter, others (including me, so to speak) do not agree on it. Discuss it and convince them and prove the fairness of the case.

    But again, Homosexuality laws in Qatar is something, and their right to host a world cup is something else.

    And Luke, I already wrote the respond I said I will, you can find it here:

    */http://www.footballmood.com/2010/12/world-cup-messhow-foxnews-generation.html

    I hope you catch it. I can understand your position, especially if you take this case personally. And I dont disagree when it comes to the rights of homosexual. But the same as Qatar offend homosexuals, other countries offend other groups of people (the only difference is that their voice is not as heard). So either we cancel world cup all together and cancel any international gathering till we unify the world under one cultural perspective, or we consider such events as an opportunity to present unsolved cases in a more open minded manner that understand the fact that at the end of the day even our values are subjective.

    • Luke
      December 15, 2010

      Ramzi, my main concern with this article was pointing on Blatter and FIFAs hypocrisy with such comments. Notwithstanding the games in Qatar, which I tried to avoid completely trashing or badmouthing because I realize we have Middle Eastern readers and those who feel for such a place, I wanted to point out that blatantly discriminating in this manner is unacceptable. Period.

      I read your article and I do agree on some points with it. It is very difficult to find any country where human rights are what they should be, where people are not in some ways oppressed or disenfranchised because of things they cannot change such as disability, sexual orientation, race, sex, etc. Although, I do find it difficult to move in the direction of: “well it’s not ok everywhere so we should just allow the games wherever” because that takes us down roads we don’t want to trod.

      There are always going to be issues with any place to hold the games. America: lack of football passion and great league. Russia: widespread area, infrastructure concerns. England: haughtiness. And so on down the line. However, I believe that the overriding concern for FIFA should always be whether it can hold games in places where civil rights are free and open as they can be. If Qatar opens itself up more to women, homosexuals, and others because of 2022, then I will be excited beyond measure, but I doubt it.

  5. Lev
    December 15, 2010

    I’m probably in the minority here, but I honestly don’t see what the big deal is…

    What do gay laws have to do with the World Cup? Imagine a gay person wants to go to a game or two in Qatar – do you honestly think he will have any problems there? No, he won’t. It’s the WC. Should he be openly gay (whatever that means). No, I guess not. It is not a foreign visitor’s job to change the social injustices that exist in a country. Either you go, and respect your host, or you don’t go. Will it effect his enjoyment of the WC should he/she chose to go? Of course not. Will he be able to do whatever he wants in the privacy of his hotel room? Of course.

    I don’t agree with the WC in Qatar, basically because I feel that a country should at least have a somewhat decent football team.

    Yet I get tired of hearing people talk about human rights. Qatar is not currently invading and bombing any foreign countries. Or gay rights. Arguably the US treats homosexuals as 2nd class citizens, since they don’t even have the right to marry yet (or they do, but then they don’t and then they do, etc.). Or democracy for that matter, which does not have all that much to do with sport.

    Btw Russia has a TERRIBLE human rights record, a corrupt democracy, and public gay manifestations get brutally beat down in that country. But all people talk about is Qatar, Qatar, Qatar.

    The Middle-East as a whole is extremely conservative about anything even remotely sexual. This includes women showing too much of their skin – come to think of it even as a man I have been admonished for wearing short sleeved shirts. So the “rules” of how to behave as a visitor to that country I guess aren’t that different for gay people as for heterosexuals.

    If you go to another country you behave like a visitor. If not, then don’t go. If you do not agree with that country’s laws or customs, don’t go. That doesn’t mean that FIFA cannot organize a tournament there.

      • soccermomof4
        December 15, 2010

        ok, this was too funny to let slide. my last captcha was:

        4epl

        I felt like typing:

        4laprimera

    • December 15, 2010

      There are some good points in here, the biggest of which is that Russia isn’t getting slammed in the same manner as Qatar–either here or in the general media. I will give the “excuse” for this particular space that it’s because we’re now involved with the Qatar Foundation and not the Russia Foundation, but it should be noted that Russia is in extreme violation of human rights on a regular basis as well. Others who know more about these two countries specifically should speak up and let us know their opinions and viewpoints.

      Another good point is that the US is, in many ways, no different and has a bad human rights record. I agree with that. But it is, as far as I know, still legal in this country to be who you want to be. There are other questions (such as marriage, etc) that should be remember, but at the risk of sounding like I’m either ignoring or sweeping these issues under the rug, I think that they’re on a different level than the ones being asked right now.

      What isn’t on a different level is the detention and imprisonment of so many “enemy combatants” without trial. I agree with that and I think it would be acceptable for FIFA to say the US wasn’t chosen because of something like, but as Luke points out, it’s a slippery slope you don’t want to mess with as a footballing organization.

      However, I will take umbrage at your idea that you should either accept a culture you’re visiting or not visit at all. As someone who enjoys foreign travel a lot, has traveled a lot, and will continue to travel for the rest of my life, I will never be anyone but myself when I travel. That doesn’t mean openly insulting someone, but it does mean not restricting myself to vague notions of cultural propriety. For instance, I’m left-handed. I went to Tanzania about a year and a half ago where you commonly eat with your hands. This particular culture looks down on eating with your left hand, generally speaking, because of the whole asswiping thing, which is what your left hand is reserved for (at least supposedly). Should I have not eaten with my left hand simply because of an outdated, outmoded, and generally silly cultural norm?

      I wouldn’t have suffered if I’d changed, but should I have? I say no because me doing what I want to do shouldn’t be offensive to anyone. I got weird looks, sure, but they can screw off because if they can’t deal with it, they need to look at themselves. I don’t ask others to speak only in English in my country or dress like I do or act like I do or worship the same God I do (or don’t) and I don’t except anyone who is inviting the world to come visit to demand “respect” for an outdated, outmoded, and generally offensive cultural norm.

      All of that isn’t to compare being left handed to being persecuted. I wore long pants instead of shorts when I went to meet with people and I do the same in Latin America. But, as with my life in Latin America (where I have spent significant time), I never gave up who I was. I was never forced to and I don’t think anyone should. It’s not insulting to a culture to not be repressive. It’s insulting to the person who is being repressed. And just as I demand equality in this country for everyone regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation, or any other characteristic you can think of, I demand it worldwide. When it isn’t available somewhere, that place has no right to ask the world to visit (and bring money) and then to demand that those visitors align themselves with a stricter and more closed approach.

      I hope that makes sense.

        • Jose
          December 15, 2010

          Specifically to Isaiah’s comment.

      • December 15, 2010

        “I think that they’re on a different level than the ones being asked right now.”

        True, but in the other direction. Homosexual laws (in Qatar) forbid people from making out in the streets. War crimes kill people on the streets. So if we want to structure a moral standard, I know whom I think should get the priority to host the tournament. Mind you, we are talking about “human rights” not “Citizen rights” not “visitors rights”. Thats why a country ranking is related to how they treat human beings anywhere. Inside the country or abroad.

    • Kari
      December 15, 2010

      ^ This! x Yaya [Lev’s comment]

      Exactly.

    • blitzen
      December 15, 2010

      I agree with many of your points, Lev, although not necessarily the tone in which you make them. You are correct that many other countries have worse human rights records than Qatar (some of which have even hosted the World Cup–I’m looking at you, Argentina!). I also agree that as a visitor to a country, one should be prepared to respect the customs and mores of the host. To a point. For example, when I was working in Sudan I covered my hair when I went out of the house. Partly for practical reasons (sun, dirt protection), and partly from politeness. I showed respect and was given respect in return. But respecting customs doesn’t mean accepting things that are morally wrong.

      In answer to your question, “What do gay laws have to do with the World Cup?” The answer is “Everything.” This is the largest and most important sporting event in the world. If we can’t take this golden opportunity when the entire world is focused on this gathering to bring up issues of basic human rights, then when? As one of FIFA’s stated aims is to encourage social development and change theough football, they can hardly ignore these issues when they come up. I will leave you with a quote from FIFA’s Football for Hope brochure:

      Football is played by millions around the world. As the guardian of the game, FIFA – with its 208 member associations – has a responsibility that goes beyond simply organising the FIFA World Cup™ and developing the game itself. In recent years, world football’s governing body has further strengthened its commitment to building a better future by defining a social responsibility strategy, setting up a Corporate Social Responsibility Department and launching the Football for Hope movement with streetfootballworld.

      (This social responsibility strategy specifically includes anti-discrimination, which to me includes gay rights.)

  6. soccermomof4
    December 15, 2010

    My take, for what it’s worth:

    1. Every person has the right to individual religious, cultural, or social values.

    2. No person has the right to belittle another’s religious, cultural, or social values. Tolerance works both ways. Don’t tell those with religious convictions how to think/act; just as those with religious convictions should not tell others how to think/act.

    3. No person or government has the right TO IMPOSE their religious or social values upon another.

    4. Regardless of your religious, cultural, or social values, every person has the right to be treated as an equal.

    5. ANY country that gets picked for these events is going to have religious, cultural or social issues to overcome. They may not be the issues that are important to specific groups, but they will be there and the discourse that arises because of the issues being brought to the forefront is usually beneficial.

    6. Why are people listening to Blatter?

    7. Finally, we are gonna kick Espanyol’s bottoms this weekend! Off topic, yet important! I feel another manita coming! —why not?—

  7. GREECE BARCA
    December 15, 2010

    Lev do you leave in russia?How everyone here speaks like he nows everything for any subject??Don.t criticize countries and people for what their leaders doing.Every war is a civil war because all humans are brothers.

    • Lev
      December 15, 2010

      Ok, Greece Barça.

      First of all I did not criticize the Russian people in my previous post. If anything my accusations of their democracy being corrupt and their lack of human rights is a direct criticism on their leaders (the same ones who have just reeled in the WC, incidentally).

      Second of all what the hell are you talking about? Human rights in Russia are among the worst and the ability of Russian journalists to investigate their government’s crimes against humanity are heavily mitigated by the very real possibility of assassination (Russia is 2nd leading country in the world for amounts of journalist murdered. 1st is Mexico – and at least in Mexico it’s the narcos and not the goverment who order the hits). Living in Russia might give you even less of an idea of what is happening in regions like Chechnya (where btw, since all humans are brothers, mother Russia has killed a whole lot of her siblings) because the media is not free to report what is happening.

      @Isaiah
      the difference with eating with your left hand is in some countries people will look at you and think you are an ass…If you went to say Saudi Arabia and tongue kissed your girlfriend in the street that would be very disrespectful. Likewise people in Europe did not appreciate Muslim immigrants cutting sheep throats on their balcony on eid al-adha. And so now they don’t anymore. You always have to respect the country in which you are. When I was in the Middle East there are a lot of things I do not agree with, but as a visitor it is not my role to change certain cultural viewpoints, nor is it right of me to insist that they respect mine. When the time is right, that change should and will come from within.

      Anybody who thinks that gay visitors to the Middle East cannot have sex is out of their mind, they can do what they please as long as it is in private. If they do it out in the open they will get locked up and it will be their own stupid fault. End of problem. I think Blatter is a corrupt sob, but he says that some people should respect the laws of a country and refrain from sex for a couple of weeks and he is made out to be anti-gay? Please…What are we talking about here? Refraining from sex during a visit to a country. Not the end of the world now, is it?

      Are we saying that the Middle East cannot host a World Cup until they change their laws on homosexuality? Even our criticism on their laws and human values can be seen as extremely hypocritical in the Middle East, given that our own governments’ human values have led to the support of countless of repressive regimes in their region (Saddam, Moubarak, the Shah, the Saudi royal family), not to mention our unjust war against Iraq (which if you count the bombings has been continuing ever since 1991), our war in Afghanistan, our robotic warfare in Pakistan, our support of the occupation of Palestine, our support of Israel during the Lebanon wars and the Gaza offensive, etc. etc. etc.

      But of course, we have the arrogance to insist that our visitors to their countries should enjoy the freedom that we enjoy in our own countries.

      I do believe in gay rights, but also I believe that what we are missing here is perspective.

      • Pyro
        December 15, 2010

        Dude you look like a serial killer in your avatar.

  8. cliu
    December 15, 2010

    Fantastic post: the bigger issue that Luke has pointed to is the pretension the Football has an uplifting aspect — no to racism, etc., but is run by a bunch of oligarch friendly, corrupt old men who stand to make a lot of money from their association with the world’s most popular sport. The no to racism campaign is a feel good, rebranding effort after years of hooliganism and outright on pitch violence (most recent example — Serbia vs. Italy). That said, football, in recent years has become much more friendly to women fans and the women’s game. Homophobia, like outright misogyny is a huge problem in footballing culture and Blatter is an idiot.

  9. Rohanv
    December 15, 2010

    Yeah, i’m not happy about the joke, although I’m actually quite fine with the rest of the quotation. He’s right, football does open up a lot of things, and as I’ve been saying, I think the World Cup will improve Qatar’s stance and record on a lot of things.

    No, I don’t believe we’ll see lots of PDA (Hetero or Homosexual) in Doha anytime soon, but that conservatism is part of the local culture and should be appreciated as such. I did and still do hope that making LGBT rights a focal point of FIFA will get Qatar to cut back on its discriminatory laws (at least in its civil code, not the Sharia one aimed at Muslims.) But after making such an open statement about what football can achieve, Blatter had to go and negate it all with a throwaway quip that hopefully will not be remembered (oh, who am I kidding), a year from now, let alone a decade.

  10. I don’t see the big deal.
    Blatter is saying that the country’s law’s should be followed while people visit it. Big fucking deal…
    If a Jamaican or Dutch person that happened to enjoy smoking marijuana, and they attended a match or two in the US where that is not legal, I’m sure they could restrain themselves from their vices for a couple of days.
    If anything I think people are overreacting, and trying to take any opportunity to spread their homosexuality-is-a-human-right agenda.

    Now. If you think FIFA should do something about it, we can suggest that FIFA screen the countries that can host a WC, so that only nations with “acceptable human rights” can host.

    But then who’s moral code are we going to be following. I know it’s tempting to take whatever America does as what should be, but not all cultures are that way. Thank God, says I.

    • December 15, 2010

      Ah yes, the tried and true “the laws are the laws” argument. How about this law: apartheid. Would that be something we should respect? Is that a part of a “moral code” we should be following? Or should we point out the obvious fallacy of saying “eh, it’s a cultural norm, ignore the blatantly anti human rights aspects of this”? That is, should the 1986 World Cup have been held in South Africa? Just, if you’re black, don’t bother visiting, or at least don’t be black in public.

      You’re also, by dent of your words–your very specific words that were chosen for exactly this purpose–pointing out that you think homosexuality is a “vice.” Homosexuality–the act of being who you are and how you are–is not the same as smoking pot. While both should be legal, one is a human right and the other is merely a right. They should not be conflated and they should not be construed as similar.

      The right to freedom, as you are, has nothing to do with whether you “do it in public” or “do it in private”. It is who you are and it’s not a “choice” of whether to “do it” anywhere. You are yourself everywhere you are and being forced to hide an aspect of yourself is oppressive, terrible, and against everything that not only I, but the rest of the BFB board stands for. That includes your right to think how you wish. You’ll note the very light use of the banhammer (that is not a threat, merely pointing out that you can have your contrary opinions here).

  11. December 15, 2010

    @Luke

    – I do find it difficult to move in the direction of: “well it’s not ok everywhere so we should just allow the games wherever”

    I will never recommend something like that. Though, the right direction for me is not to approach those who disagree with us by preaching that “We are right, you are wrong. Either you change the way it fit us or we terminate your existence”. Mind you, this is a mentality you find in the middle east toward the west, and you find in the west toward the middle east, so as between any two different cultures. This is what is getting us to the mess we have in the world. You have your view about the world. Others have theirs. No one hold the full truth. Approach them with an open mind, present your case once, twice and a thousand times. Together we can reach closer to the truth than anyone alone, who delusional think having it all.

    – I tried to avoid completely trashing or badmouthing because I realize we have Middle Eastern readers and those who feel for such a place

    You dont have to. I just wish you visit the middle east, you will be shocked how far the majority are liberal and open to discuss everything, as long as approached properly. I cant stress enough on the term “properly”. And I have to pass a statement that is not directed to you, but relevant to this healthy discussion (which include freedom of speech and democracy myths): The concept that Middle Easterns are a race living in a box Vs the free thinkers else where is as false as it can be. And here I have to salute great people like Ibrahim Issa (for example)and his “Dostoor journal” in Egypt whom I know (some of them) personally and know how they put their life on the road to create a change against a dictatorship that count on the support of the “democratic countries” like USA to survive, while journals in the “freedom of speech” continent avoid crossing the freedom margins the system offer so they dont lose their jobs. Aside of some Lebanese journals and this Egyptian adventure (Aldostoor) I dont follow any other journalism in the middle east for obvious reasons, But I follow lot of western journalism -no offense- to have a laugh. I dont blame people who do not know if the only stream of information they have is just a slave to the “Matrix” planned elsewhere. So lets not keep talking about freedom of speech and democracy. We are still far from being there. No matter where we live.

    – “There are always going to be issues with any place to hold the games…If Qatar opens itself up more to women, homosexuals, and others because of 2022, then I will be excited beyond measure, but I doubt it.”

    See…it is not USA “lack of football passion” Vs “Qatar homosexual laws” or UK “haughtiness” Vs “Qatar alcohol laws (which I see nothing wrong in it though I dont like it). Putting it this way skew the case toward the bad Vs the worst. It is about other countries war crimes, human rights flaws, Global warming responsibility Vs “Qatar bads in more or less the same issues”. This is how we can appropriately make the fair matching. And thats how we can see that almost all countries are in the same mess. so none can preach any.

    Will other countries stop committing war crimes? Will they change regulations that offend Muslims? Jews? Hindus? Will they have more respect to human rights (and not just preaching about it)? If hosting the world cup will lead them to that path, I will be the first to demand moving the WC from Qatar to any of them. But I doubt.

    Thats why, I think FIFA’s decision is the most successful one, only if Qatar stay loyal to its culture and only make changes that convince its community. This is how we put everyone in place without masks and 12 years of debated and give and take can make everyone realize where they are wrong or right. Thats where we start a progressive approach everywhere. Will that happen? I doubt. I think Qatar will skew things to make sure the WC pass successfully, while homosexuals (for example) will over-exhibit their presence in Qatar streets just to score points which will lead to a more passive environment for homosexuality in the region (which is not a dictatorship fault, but a cultural belief).

    I dare to say the western approach toward “the others” make the life of those who are working on Civil rights in the middle east for example extremely difficult. People will always counter them saying “why do we have to respect west values if they dont respect ours?” they will rightfully ask:”If the west are not willing to question their own values and belief and show readiness to change if proven wrong, why would we?” they will ask “why will we consider their concerns or listen to their nitpicking if they feel too superior to accept any critical observation that oppose their common believes?”…Trust me, thats what happen.

    • Luke
      December 15, 2010

      @Ramzi:

      -“Though, the right direction for me is not to approach those who disagree with us by preaching that “We are right, you are wrong. Either you change the way it fit us or we terminate your existence”. Mind you, this is a mentality you find in the middle east toward the west, and you find in the west toward the middle east, so as between any two different cultures.”

      I certainly hope my post did not come off this way, because it certainly was not intended as such. I do not intend to “exterminate” anyone’s culture by this standard. I intend for people to be free to practice what they have and want to do so far as it does not physically or psychologically harm others within reason. This is the main reason I disagree with theocracy in any form. Religions should not determine laws in countries where numerous religious people exist.

      -Following much of Western journalism is good for a laugh, though not all.

      -And I really had no intention of turning this into American culture v. “others” because it is not intended as such. I write this as a secular humanist, someone who seeks to have all people to have free rights. I don’t accept the typically American response that “our” culture is inherently better than everyone else’s, because it is not.

      I would much rather have many of our laws changed, and done swiftly. Invading a culture to have it changed it unacceptable. I would rather see reasoning and free speech do the job, not military force or some other farce that America normally feels it must use.

  12. Lev
    December 15, 2010

    (did not mean to reply directly, posting it again so it won’t get lost in the mix)

    Ok, Greece Barça.

    First of all I did not criticize the Russian people in my previous post. If anything my accusations of their democracy being corrupt and their lack of human rights is a direct criticism on their leaders (the same ones who have just reeled in the WC, incidentally).

    Second of all what the hell are you talking about? Human rights in Russia are among the worst and the ability of Russian journalists to investigate their government’s crimes against humanity are heavily mitigated by the very real possibility of assassination (Russia is 2nd leading country in the world for amounts of journalist murdered. 1st is Mexico – and at least in Mexico it’s the narcos and not the goverment who order the hits). Living in Russia might give you even less of an idea of what is happening in regions like Chechnya (where btw, since all humans are brothers, mother Russia has killed a whole lot of her siblings) because the media is not free to report what is happening.

    @Isaiah
    the difference with eating with your left hand is in some countries people will look at you and think you are an ass…If you went to say Saudi Arabia and tongue kissed your girlfriend in the street that would be very disrespectful. Likewise people in Europe did not appreciate Muslim immigrants cutting sheep throats on their balcony on eid al-adha. And so now they don’t anymore. You always have to respect the country in which you are. When I was in the Middle East there are a lot of things I do not agree with, but as a visitor it is not my role to change certain cultural viewpoints, nor is it right of me to insist that they respect mine. When the time is right, that change should and will come from within.

    Anybody who thinks that gay visitors to the Middle East cannot have sex is out of their mind, they can do what they please as long as it is in private. If they do it out in the open they will get locked up and it will be their own stupid fault. End of problem. I think Blatter is a corrupt sob, but he says that some people should respect the laws of a country and refrain from sex for a couple of weeks and he is made out to be anti-gay? Please…What are we talking about here? Refraining from sex during a visit to a country. Not the end of the world now, is it?

    Are we saying that the Middle East cannot host a World Cup until they change their laws on homosexuality? Even our criticism on their laws and human values can be seen as extremely hypocritical in the Middle East, given that our own governments’ human values have led to the support of countless of repressive regimes in their region (Saddam, Moubarak, the Shah, the Saudi royal family), not to mention our unjust war against Iraq (which if you count the bombings has been continuing ever since 1991), our war in Afghanistan, our robotic warfare in Pakistan, our support of the occupation of Palestine, our support of Israel during the Lebanon wars and the Gaza offensive, etc. etc. etc.

    But of course, we have the arrogance to insist that our visitors to their countries should enjoy the freedom that we enjoy in our own countries.

    I do believe in gay rights, but also I believe that what we are missing here is perspective.

    • December 15, 2010

      Yeah, see, I completely disagree with “nor is it right of me to insist that they respect mine.” I think there’s a middle ground in many ways, such as wearing long shirts, not pointing out to everyone that I’m eating with my left hand, etc, but it seems a bit absurd to suggest that you can’t be something in public because it’s illegal when it shouldn’t be illegal.

      This has become more a conversation about gay rights in Qatar than it perhaps should be since the central point is what FIFA has done and I think we are recognize the impotence of FIFA in changing things. I don’t know all of the criticisms leveled at South Africa before this year’s World Cup (I personally focused mainly on the economic ones), so I can’t really say what was going on there and I wasn’t a blogger when it was announced (1998? 2002?) so I didn’t have anything to say at the time.

      I think that this space will require a look at Russia now, just to make sure we cover our bases. And again, it’s not about imposing a moral viewpoint, but rather saying that if you’re inviting the world, you’re inviting the world, not a strictly homogenous group that requires particular characteristics to gain entry. You don’t get to pick and choose if you’re in that situation.

      If Christianity were illegal, do you think this conversation would have the “laws are the laws” slant that it currently does?

  13. Hilal
    December 15, 2010

    Thank you Lev, finally a sensible post. I dont get what the big deal is either. What did Blatter say that was so bad? He is just telling people to abide by the rules of the country they will be in. Whether people agree with the laws or not is irrelevant really. Those are the laws in Qatar and the WC WILL be held in Qatar in 2022. If people want to go then they have to respect the laws and culture of that society. If they can’t do that then don’t go, or go and get thrown in jail.

    • Eklavya
      December 15, 2010

      Dare I yell “Off-topic!!!” to a Moderator? 😀

  14. Diego S.
    December 15, 2010

    What Ramzi said in his two Comments and Lev’s.

    Luke, Before you keep talking about Qatar’s Law, Visit the Middle East. See how Americans react when they hear the word “Muslim” or “Middle Eastern” before you come talking about Human Rights.

    I’m Officially Boycotting Luke’s posts from now on.

    • December 15, 2010

      I dont see a reason for that. If you Boycott those who disagree with you then you have no right to complain if others dont care about what you think or believe.

      Beside, I didnt see anything “Evil” in what Luke said. He stated a point of view that has lot of supporters. And others stated theirs.

    • Luke
      December 15, 2010

      Well, um, the fact that I am American is something I cannot change. But I react no differently to that than I do to the term “Christian.” So knock yourself out if you wish to boycott my posts, that’s your right if you like, though I don’t know that your dislike of what I have to say equates with what you just said here.

      Once again, asking me to visit the Middle East is a fallacious argument. I can read and see what is going on there. I could apply the same to you and say until you come visit me and discuss these issues with me thoroughly, then you shouldn’t talk about me or human rights, right?

      • mei
        December 15, 2010

        Reading and watching whats going in a country so to form a ppicture what each country is about , requires the material that is a available to you to be reliable and accurate.
        Its not.

    • December 15, 2010

      But again, Diego, you are reacting to the wrong thing. Luke’s post is fundamentally about Sepp Blatter’s ill-considered comment. The word “Muslim” is not in his post. At all.

      So if Luke reviews the Catalan derby, will you boycott that post?

      This space is unique in that we cover lots of things unrelated to Barca. And the discourse is thoughtful and almost always useful in advancing the discussion, or giving visitors something to think about.

      Why not refute Luke with the knowledge that you have? I think that would be more helpful than saying “Visit the Middle East. See how Americans react when they hear the word “Muslim” or “Middle Eastern…”

      ALL Americans? Do we all react the same? I don’t. My wife doesn’t. Nor does my mother. Those are three right there who refute your blanket supposition. That’s why we read posts and comments, consider the post and our response to it, then type.

      Just as you are boycotting Luke’s posts, couldn’t someone decide to boycott your comments because of your lumping all Americans into the same xenophobic, discriminatory basket?

      Just asking.

  15. Jose
    December 15, 2010

    I will simply say that coming from a conservative culture that is not at all accepting of homosexuality, but having grown up knowing homosexuals in my family, I understand that it is still not commonly accepted that homosexuality is as fundamental and immutable an aspect of their being as is race or gender. This is, however, fact.

    Rights for homosexuals is not a matter of some “agenda” nor should it be dismissed as a feature of a “culture”, anymore than we should have accepted the American South’s practice of racial segregation as an aspect of their “cultural conservatism”.

    It’s discrimination based on a personal reality as unchangeable as race. And it’s wrong. And frankly I’m as tired of my native society excusing this bigotry as “moral values” as I am of other society’s doing the same, and hiding it behind some sort of East vs. West misunderstanding.

    Bullshit, I say.

      • Eklavya
        December 15, 2010

        Whoa whoa you guys need to take a break of this X ^ Yaya. If someone accidentally writes Yaya ^ Yay_ god knows what will happen!

        • Diego S.
          December 15, 2010

          I believe we should start a ^ Busquets. He Earned it.

    • December 15, 2010

      Well, Jose, whether it is a Bullshit or not, that’s a fact. Like it. Hate it. That change nothing. It is a fact. And dare I say that there is nothing that make my (or your)opinion about anything (including homosexuality) more valid than the opinion of those who oppose it. We say Bullshit to them. They say Bullshit to us. And that is how we roll.

      To make a case valid, you need to discuss it with those who oppose it from a perspective of finding the truth about it, whether it is what you believe, others believes or if it is something in between (regardless of how far you think you are right, because others think the same though they oppose you).
      Opposing homosexuality is a cultural norm. Accepting homosexuality is another cultural -growing- norm. If both cant approach the case trying to find a common grown, then both are just in the same Bullshit. Though both are living in denial, taking the same position with their backs toward each other.

      • Jose
        December 15, 2010

        “If both cant approach the case trying to find a common grown, then both are just in the same Bullshit.”

        No, that is not how truth works. Truth is not found by taking two opposing sides and finding some middle ground between them. You look at the evidence and determine what is the most likely reality, beyond most doubt.

        People can have opinions as to whether homosexuality is a choice or not, right or wrong or not. That is neither here nor there. What is relevant is that there is plenty of empirical evidence that, for a great many homosexuals, their sexual orientation is the result of both genetic and developmental circumstances outside of their control. Ergo, to discriminate against them for that fact is wrong, just as discriminating against a people based on race, physical disability, gender or number of toes is wrong.

        This is why I’m a scientist and not a lawyer.

        • December 15, 2010

          So why is it wrong if a sister and a brother felt attracted to each other and want to get married? Not promoting it, but just saying.

          We are the hostages of the way we are raised and the cultural implications that develop us. Outside such inputs, we are just another kind of animals. Thats the only pure science that we can take seriously 😉

          • Jose
            December 15, 2010

            “We are the hostages of the way we are raised and the cultural implications that develop us.”

            Not to aggrandize myself or anything, but I would say I’m living proof that that is simply not true. I grew up in a home with two Dominican (Latin American) parents and a Lebanese grandmother taking care of me. As an adult, I have shunned many of the “cultural implications” and opinion that you would expect from a person of a similar developmental environment.

            “Thats the only pure science that we can take seriously”

            Nah it isn’t 😛

          • December 15, 2010

            the “and cultural implications that develop us” is the part that describe you 😛

            you had multicultural streams which gave you the mentality to create your own complexity. Mind you cultural inputs are not necessarily related to place or origin but the main streams of inputs that may come from different alternatives. There is a reason why the majority of people receiving -almost- the same inputs end up sharing the same believes (or you think they thought individually and ended up with a common perspective?). That is applied everywhere.

            Or maybe you are simply the exception that prove the rules. I know some 😀

          • Jose
            December 15, 2010

            I will give a loud and resounding “perhaps” 🙂

            “Or maybe you are simply the exception that prove the rules.”

            This expression is a pet peeve of mine, jajaja… It’s a mistranslation of the Latin “probo” (or similarly the Spanish “probar”). “Probo” has two meanings: to test and to prove. The translation used the wrong definition.

            It should be “The expression tests the rule” or rather, it is the single exception that determines whether a rule is true or not. In this case, it proves it is not 😛

    • blitzen
      December 15, 2010

      I liked you before for the silliness, now I like you for the smarts! 😀

  16. December 15, 2010

    And the Iniesta nonsense comes from this bit of stupidity:

    http://sports.yahoo.com/soccer/news?slug=ro-iniesta121410

    The club refused to rule out selling Iniesta because such a thing hasn’t even crossed its mind. It would be like me, refusing to rule out having a flying lamp post go up my ass. “Um … well … haven’t really … um.”

    There is a “do not sell” list, and Iniesta is on it. Full stop. So is Messi, Xavi, Puyol, Pique and Busquets.

    • Diego S.
      December 15, 2010

      Pedro should be on that list too, I hope he continues to improve as most Wingers reach their peak at 26 years of age.

    • blitzen
      December 15, 2010

      I would include Valdes on that list, but I think I have mentioned that before.

  17. December 15, 2010

    @Isaiah (Basically):

    Again, what is the criteria? For example, let me give it a try…
    ——————————
    Any country that fails to meet any of the following three points will not be allowed to host a world cup:

    1) Has a bad human rights record or regulations that offend or does not recognize the demands of any group of human beings, opposing the requirements of their cultural beliefs, Religion, sexual orientation, etc…

    2) Any country that encourage -by law- any habit or practice that obviously oppose the cure of Sports whether related to its moral perspective or physical dimension where it send a message to youth in the first place to focus on sport as a healthy alternative and vital need.

    3) Any country having a bad record in term of environmental concerns.
    ————————

    Because we need a criteria, or it will always sound like “it is not the same” based on each ones perspectives. If we agree on the three points then Qatar will have no right to host a wold cup. the question is who does?

    As mentioned above, Homosexual laws (in Qatar) forbid people from making out in the streets. War crimes kill people on the streets. Some of them happened based on public approval involved countries from toes (Citizens) to head (governments) where all contributed in decision making. It is not the same. True. But so what?

    Mind you, we are talking about “human rights” not “Citizen rights” not “visitors rights”. Thats why a country ranking is related to how they treat human beings anywhere. Inside the country or abroad. Human rights has to be a whole sale argument, not a selective logic.

    • Eklavya
      December 15, 2010

      I was going to say Switzerland would make it in your criteria when I realized that banned Minarets here about a year ago.

  18. Luke
    December 15, 2010

    Edited post to add something I left out

  19. blitzen
    December 15, 2010

    On a lighter note, and just to confuse things, I would like to point out that you are much more likely to see men holding hands on the street in Qatar or any other Middle Eastern country than in any Western country, as that is a cultural norm for heterosexual men. Straight men in the US *never* hold hands.

    Neat, huh? 😀

    • Diego S.
      December 15, 2010

      I’m Middle Eastern, I’m Heterosexual, But I don’t hold hands with my friends on the street. 😀

      Where did you get that info from ?

      • blitzen
        December 15, 2010

        I saw men in Egypt and Sudan holding hands all the time, and I have seen men do it in Jordan and Syria as well. Mostly in Sudan, though. Maybe it is more an African thing? Or a small village thing, rather than a city thing?

          • Vj
            December 15, 2010

            Not only hands, but pinkies too here..

          • Eklavya
            December 15, 2010

            I’ve never heard anyone say “You’re gay” when you’re friendly with another guy in India. But I’ve heard that some 2620463x in Europe.

  20. December 15, 2010

    Look, for the record:

    –People should be able to screw anyone or anything they want. Wouldn’t that be the ultimate in freedom? But various municipalities and nations have laws against bestiality and child endangerment, to name just two examples, for very good reasons.

    So what we have is the issue of two consenting adults, what they choose to do with each other, and the complexity of local statutes. As I noted in another post, it wasn’t that long ago that my mixed-race marriage would have been illegal in America. But times change. I can’t get that worked up about Qatar because 2022 is 11 years down the road. As our in-house Qatar resident, Rohan V, notes, the royals are exceptionally progressive and are tirelessly working toward change.

    It’s why all you can do is react to Blatter’s ill-considered comment. Stacking other issues into matters is where things get complicated.

    No American can slag any other country about civil or human rights violations. Sorry, but we can’t. Until I can go anywhere in this country of ours without dealing with racial slurs, or until a couple I know who love each other more deeply, and have been together longer than almost any other couple I know, but can’t marry because they are both female, Americans can just shut the hell up about human/civil rights. 50 years ago, people were marching so that I could go to any school that I chose.

    There isn’t a country on this planet that I know of that doesn’t have civil or human rights complexities. I suppose we could start parsing them by egregiousness, but that again is specific to the individual.

    That’s why all we have is Blatter’s comment, and the debate about that. For me, even that is tinged with grey, because when you go somewhere, you hew to that place’s laws. By the by, Qatar’s laws also restrict non-marital relations. But that isn’t as incendiary as homosexual relations.

    Years ago, I went to visit my fiancee’s parents, in their home. Her father said, “In this home, it’s still 1950, and you two aren’t married, so you’ll sleep in separate bedrooms.” And that was the law. I might think it silly, you might think it silly, but it’s the law. The choice then is stay, or go to a hotel. We chose to stay.

    Anyone choosing to go to the World Cup, assuming that Qatar’s laws are as they are now, should go in with eyes wide open, and choose accordingly. Look at Formula One. They once had a race weekend party in which hostesses were clad in high heels, thong bottoms and a satin sash. The end. They didn’t have that same party at the Dubai Grand Prix, because that country has different customs. You adapt if you want to take part.

    Yes, you can debate the rightness or wrongness of something until you’re blue. I love France, and plan to retire there. How do I feel about the nation’s ban of the hijab? It’s stupid, and hard to excuse except that the French tend to be rather a secular people, or at least in my dealings with them, and observation, notwithstanding their pride in their old churches.

    And if I married a Muslim woman who insisted on wearing the hijab, I would have to consider my vacation destination carefully, wouldn’t I?

    All that to say this: Respect, people. We can discuss, debate and argue here because we’re family. But whether it’s a match rating or something deeper, we can do so with respect.

    Thanks for suffering through this.

    • Hilal
      December 15, 2010

      As always Kxevin…. a well thought out, rational comment. Are you sure your a journalist 😉

    • blitzen
      December 15, 2010

      If I wanted to keep this discussion going I would point out that France’s problem with the hijab is less about secularism and more about xenophobia…but I won’t. 🙂

      Good comments, good and (mostly) respectful discussion, this is why I keep coming back here!

    • December 15, 2010

      Kxevin, what do you think about creating an Attorney office together? I introduce the initial defense and you finish our opponent 🙂

    • Diego S.
      December 15, 2010

      “You adapt if you want to take part.”

      One of the Best Things I read all day. People are arguing from now just so they can do what they want for 1 month in a foreign country 11 years from now.

  21. Diego S.
    December 15, 2010

    I’m not saying I’m boycotting his posts because it differs with my opinion, I’m saying that because I feel Ignorance and Arrogance coming from him.

    I’m not putting all Americans into the same xenophobic just as he shouldn’t put all Qataris. I can Understand someone who is opposing to WC in Qatar because of technical reasons like Jose, or because of involvement of bribery and money. But Luke is talking about culture and religion. People went to South Africa, They were bothered by the Vuvuzela but FIFA didn’t ask SA to forbid it. Teams were robbed, but I didn’t hear anyone complaining. I see people complaining about Qatar’s WC which is 12 years away from now.

    Qatar has to make accommodations and lean but so are the Visitors, and It should be more on the visitors part I think. Homosexuals can do anything they want in their hotel rooms. But Qatar is simply asking that it doesn’t show on the streets. Like a Friend of you who is disgusted by Gore, You don’t show him a picture of blood and guts everyday. You try to hide it from him. If I go somewhere, I can’t change who I’m, But I can lean so I cannot offend people (If it’s something I can change.) You’d say Homosexuals have their right, Qatar is asking to keep it clean on the street.

  22. Kari
    December 15, 2010

    FIFA: Say No to Racism

    And yet…

    *http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/2299242/Zenit-fans-are-racist-admits-Dick-Advocaat.html

    *http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-566290/Zenits-racist-fans-cast-shadow-Manchester-final.html

    So, do I believe Russia shouldn’t host the WC? No, I don’t. I believe they will be nothing but gracious, accommodating hosts.

    Human have rights–gay or otherwise–but c’mon. It’s not the outsider’s God-given right to change a country–it happens from the inside.

    People are going to Qatar for one month 12 years from now. And they think Qatar’s laws, regulations and beliefs should be changed, so they can do whatever they want as if it were their country? For one month?

    I’m sorry, but IMO, that’s what I call arrogance.

    After the WC is hosted, will people honestly still be campaigning for gay rights in Qatar? (That’s a genuine question by the way.)

    • blitzen
      December 15, 2010

      Kari, I’m not saying that Qatar’s laws or beliefs should be changed, I’m just pointing out that FIFA has made human rights part of their mandate, so they should not be making statements that trivialize them. I’ll repost what I said in my reply to Lev above:

      As one of FIFA’s stated aims is to encourage social development and change theough football, they can hardly ignore these issues when they come up. I will leave you with a quote from FIFA’s Football for Hope brochure:

      “Football is played by millions around the world. As the guardian of the game, FIFA – with its 208 member associations – has a responsibility that goes beyond simply organising the FIFA World Cup™ and developing the game itself. In recent years, world football’s governing body has further strengthened its commitment to building a better future by defining a social responsibility strategy, setting up a Corporate Social Responsibility Department and launching the Football for Hope movement with streetfootballworld.”

      (This social responsibility strategy specifically includes anti-discrimination, which to me includes gay rights.)

      I’m just saying that I don’t buy the whole argument that the World Cup somehow exists outside of the real world where laws and regulations have real consequences for real people.

      • blitzen
        December 15, 2010

        Also I have been very very careful not to say anything that slams Qatar or addresses specifics of their laws because I don’t know enough about them. I am just saying that this is the kind of issue that should be discussed and acknowledged when FIFA is awarding the World Cup to *any* country. If you invite the world to your home, you must be prepared for the world’s scrutiny.

    • mei
      December 15, 2010

      They are not campaigning now.
      People would slam any country that won the countries that traditionally host sporting events or have sporting success.
      Like the human rights are more respected there or sth.

      South africa was not attacked like this ,simply because there was a mandela on the front absorbing the sceptisicm even before it started.

  23. Huckleberry
    December 15, 2010

    Are heterosexuals allowed to practice their sexuality in public in Qatar?

    • Hilal
      December 15, 2010

      Nope. Which makes this whole debate all the more ridiculous. Its not even really a gay issue, its a sex issue and it will effect all people, straight, homosexual, or otherwise. Just dont show affection in public, whats the big deal. That goes for EVERYONE, not just homosexuals, so how it became such a big homosexual issue is beyond me..

      The feeling I get is that the homosexual issue is being used as an excuse to label Qatar as having human rights problems, which is more to do with people’s underlying anti-arab sentiment than anything else.

      • mei
        December 15, 2010

        give me a country’s name to present to you major human rights issues within it.

        • Hilal
          December 15, 2010

          Yeah exactly, every country has human rights issues and to be honest Qatars issues are much less than some other so called civilised western countries. The US, UK and Israel may allow homosexuals to show affection in public but then they start illegal wars, carry out illegal occupations and kill millions of people and Qatar has human rights issues?

          Riiiigggghhhhht

          • mei
            December 15, 2010

            Is there a legal type of war im not familiar with?
            Btw USA have homosexual rights issues as well.

  24. Lev
    December 15, 2010

    Just to reply to some specific points

    @Isaiah

    “Yeah, see, I completely disagree with “nor is it right of me to insist that they respect mine.” I think there’s a middle ground in many ways, such as wearing long shirts, not pointing out to everyone that I’m eating with my left hand, etc, but it seems a bit absurd to suggest that you can’t be something in public because it’s illegal when it shouldn’t be illegal”

    I invite people more familiar of Qatari law to correct me, but as far as I understand it is not illegal to “be” gay, but it is illegal to have gay sex. Imo it is absurd if you think it is fine to visit another country and have sex in public, even more so if that country is sexually conservative. Whether said sex is between adam and eve or steve shouldn’t matter, I think the “middle ground” would be to have sex in private.

    “If Christianity were illegal, do you think this conversation would have the “laws are the laws” slant that it currently does?”

    No. But that is because Christianity is a dominant world wide force. Falun Gong is a religion / belief system with millions of followers yet banned by the Chinese Government. Didn’t stop them from getting the Olympics.
    Also I do not believe that religion and sexuality are comparable. Like I said, one can refrain from having sex for a few weeks. Big deal.

    “I think that this space will require a look at Russia now, just to make sure we cover our bases.”

    Yes. Much more interesting. Imo much more debatable “awarding” big sporting events to countries like Russia, China and the US who have committed human rights atrocities on immense scales because of the politics of money and power.

    @Blitzen

    “I would like to point out that you are much more likely to see men holding hands on the street in Qatar or any other Middle Eastern country than in any Western country, as that is a cultural norm for heterosexual men.”

    As is kissing each other on the cheeks.

    @Ramzi

    “Though both are living in denial, taking the same position with their backs toward each other.”

    Exactly. And for homosexuality to be fully accepted, the key is for only one party to have their back turned toward the other!

    • mei
      December 15, 2010

      Drawing politics into a football blog is a turnoff.
      Whats a bigger turnoff? this blog is intelligent enough about football , and then issues like this come along to disturb it.

      You cant judge politics when you have no idea what happens within a country.

      You cant judge politics while asking wether something is legal there or not : you should have known beforehand.

      You cant judge politics based on what you read and watch on a country , because its never enough , and the information you can access is limited , unreliable , nonrepresentative and most of the time distorted.

  25. December 15, 2010

    Let me correct you since I am familiar with Qatar and its laws. Homosexual sex is not allowed. IN PUBLIC!!!!! What you do in the privacy of your own home, apartment or hotel room is your business. Unless you plan on taking sex to the streets, which even in the States is illegal, then you can do whatever you want.

    As for refrain from sex for a week, i think thats their choice. As long as its not public sex.

    So the question is now, is any of you guys planning on having sex on the streets of Qatar 12 years from now?

    • Jose
      December 15, 2010

      “So the question is now, is any of you guys planning on having sex on the streets of Qatar 12 years from now?”

      What did you have in mind?

    • December 15, 2010

      Bassam, I don’t doubt that you are more knowledgeable than I about the laws of Qatar. Or Russia. And probably even the US. That said, the information about homosexuality being illegal comes from this link, which states “…homosexuality is illegal…”

      Is this incorrect information? I cannot follow the reference links at the bottom of that page because I’m at work, but will check them out tonight.

      And just so everyone knows: I’d rather be wrong about this and have to apologize than turn out to be right.

      • December 15, 2010

        I come from Lebanon, which is in the middle east. Drinking age there is 21. I got my first beer when i was 14.

        This is how it goes. Qatar being a country whose law is bent on religion, and since religion says no to homosexuality, the law says no. Is the law being followed in modern day? No. Not even close. I can’t find the link right now, but homosexuality in the gulf of the middle east has been rising a lot. As long as sexual activity is kept indoors, no one is going to have a problem with you. I will go as far as say that it is said to be illegal to avoid its spread and the conservation of religious beliefs. Ive had friends, who are gay, live in Qatar for years. Never had a problem.

        I think the whole situation is the Christian oriented west has heard rumors of the Muslim Middle east and with those rumors comes a level of ambiguity that leads to this defensive stance.

        FYI, i was against Qatar hosting the world cup. Not because of homosexuality or safety, i think those are as good as the US or any other place. I just think that from an environmental point of view and from a financial point of view its a wrong idea. Just like i think the US hosting the world cup from a viewers point of view is a bad idea.

        Remember, first hand experience is better than links or what people say. Go to Qatar. Watch the World cup. Make out with a dude. See what happens. whats the worse thing that can happen? You get kicked out of the country lol

  26. Eklavya
    December 15, 2010

    Is there a place where public sex – homo or hereto – is allowed?

        • Eklavya
          December 15, 2010

          Whoa whoa whoa, I was asking because there isn’t such a place. I didn’t mean it literary. I never said I wanted to go there or something!

          Jeez 😐

          • Vj
            December 15, 2010

            Well it certainly looked that way..

            And I forgot about the CAPTCHA while writing this for the first time..

          • Eklavya
            December 15, 2010

            Your avatar makes you look like that too…

  27. Eklavya
    December 15, 2010

    OK, be honest, who else have been “caught” by the CAPTCHA thing?
    This the 5th time I forgot to put in the code and had to go back, scroll all the down and type it in.

    For anyone who might now know: its not case-sensitive. You don’t have to write it in all caps.

    Just now I almost submitted my comment without typing in the code! D’Oh!

    • Eklavya
      December 15, 2010

      Argh, stupid spellings!

      *had to go back, scroll all the way down
      **For anyone who might not know

      Typos ruin everything!

  28. Hilal
    December 15, 2010

    @ Mei, actually yes, there are certain things that can lead to a war being deemed as legal under international law. Things like self defense. Anyways none of these applied when the US decided to invade Iraq, making the war illegal. As is the occupation of Palestinian land, which the US and UK both condone by supporting Israel financially, militarily and politically.

    Needless to say the issue of Qatar not allowing public displays of affection is quite ridiculous when you put it in context of what the “civilised” nations do. I wonder if we would be having a similar debate right now if England was hosting the WC…

  29. Lev
    December 15, 2010

    @blitzen

    Sorry Blitzen I did not see the reply to my post since so many other comments had been posted already.

    You do have a point, although I am not sure whether gay rights would fall under the anti-discrimination campaign.

    There are so few countries in the world where culturally homosexuality is truly accepted that we might as well have the WC in Canada or Western Europe every four years, though…

  30. ajani
    December 15, 2010

    So here’s what we’ve learned:
    -Sepp Blatter is an idiot. We all knew that already.
    -Every country has human rights issues. We all knew that already.
    -Homosexuals, whether you believe their orientation is an immutable characteristic or not, are to be respected as human beings with all the freedoms everyone else enjoys. (You could replace ‘homosexuals’ and ‘orientation’ with just about anything ‘different.’)

    The real question is: to what extent should FIFA base its decision on where to host the WC on the host country’s laws/customs/culture? It is a valid question, and we need to consider BOTH
    -“visitors’ rights,” if you will, because the WC will always involve a large amount of foreigners;
    -and human rights, because FIFA needs to consider what I reluctantly term “reputation” in condoning (or seeming to condone) human rights abuses.

    There is one thing I will say. Some have argued that Qatar’s customs/laws that discriminate against homosexuality are irrelevant because any given country has human rights abuses, and have cited the USA and our treatment of gay marriage, enemy combatants, etc. I think there are important distinctions to make here. First, between government and citizenry, second, between law and practice, and third, between issues that will affect visitors and those that will not.

    Comment as you will — I am not expressing a particular opinion on this (or am at least not trying to), but am simply laying out what the WC/FIFA/soccer fans REALLY need to consider.

    • ajani
      December 15, 2010

      Note: there should be a “we SHOULD know that already” after my point about respect for homosexual people.

    • mei
      December 15, 2010

      If the World Cup is indeed a sporting event including all the countries of our world , there shouldnt be a place not eligible to host it.
      If anyone can host it , and wants to he should.
      Nevermind politics.
      If a country has issues, a sporting event will never be either a motive or an obligation to fix them.
      Yet the publicity such event attracts will be a good reason to reevaluate these problems.

      • ajani
        December 15, 2010

        I think that’s a fair point, particularly “nevermind politics.” But I think it is safe to say that this is not about politics, but about culture, customs, and rights.

        FIFA should not be judging cultures and customs; I think everyone will agree on that. As for rights, however, I think FIFA needs to take that into consideration. Visitors need to be comfortable in the host country, and if they are not, there will be no visitors. It can be as simple as that sort of business decision or as complicated as a moral one, but either way, it needs to be considered. “Nevermind human rights” does not have the same sort of ring, does it?

        • mei
          December 15, 2010

          Nevermind human rights.

          If we ignore the fact that the western world has its standards ,sometimes meets it, most of the time not and generally points the finger to other countries for simply not living up to whatever goals some other countries decide for yet not comply with ignore human rights.
          Give it to anyone that can do it and is willing to , and the public outcry it could create will take care of the rest.

          Last time it was hosted in south africa if Im not mistaken , and nobody made a fuss about human rights, before during or after.

          The whole fifa is promoting noble causes is a joke and anyone believing it is deeply delusional.
          Okay put some quotes in the ads and make the players sing a song everynow and then.
          Thats just marketing .

          • ajani
            December 15, 2010

            South Africa is no longer under apartheid. Not sure what you are implying.

            I believe as strongly in the pathetic faux-righteousness of marketers and politicians as you do, but I also believe in football’s responsibility toward its followers, no matter what orientation, color, or creed they are.

            And frankly, I also see that a person who declares “nevermind human rights” as something respectable is not someone I’ll ever be able to convince or argue rationally with.

          • blitzen
            December 15, 2010

            Actually, a lot of people made a fuss about human rights in South Africa. You should really do your research. I can provide links if you aren’t able to find them yourself.

          • mei
            December 15, 2010

            what i am saying is , south africa still has major human rights issues , same as many countries, who are often considered “developed”.
            SA hosted the WC and no big deal was made out of it , not strong enough anyway to arise severe criticism against it.
            If it was please provide me with links that severe criticism against it lead to a certain result in this country.
            Im not saying ignore human rights,generally.
            Im implying that if you wanna pick a place for a sporting event , and really want to promote noble causes , do it smartly.
            Host it in a place that has problems , and use the ttention such tournament attracts to battle such injusticies with the mightiest weapon nowadays available.
            Information.

  31. Kari
    December 15, 2010

    @blitzen

    No worries, I get what you’re saying. 😉 I wasn’t specifically talking about you in particular or anyone on the blog per se, just the general masses.

  32. December 15, 2010

    Thank you for spreading the word about Red Card Homophobia, and also it makes me very happy that more and more people address this issue.

  33. Euler
    December 15, 2010

    Many of the criticisms of Qatar are very valid and are real concerns.

    Blatter’s long history of ridiculous comments and corruption speak for themselves.

    What I do find more and more striking is the growing disconnect in the way Russia 2018 and Qatar 2022 are being viewed. I’m not referring to this space in particular, but at large in the media.

    There is so much focus on Qatar that implicitly Russia’s award is comparatively coming off as the “good” bid. This has been written many times in many publications around the world. “Russia is understandable but Qatar…”

    I’d have to think Putin and Medvedev are thrilled with this outcome. Qatar getting the cup in 2022 has to be one of the best things that could have possibly happened for them. It’s been a public relations coup for them and extracted them from critical scrutiny.

    Think about all of the media attention on these two WC awards.

    Russia has directly and indirectly supported the state-sponsored murder of journalists. This isn’t only something from the distant past – it’s a recent phenomenon as well from the past decade.

    With all of the media attention on these bids from around the world, I have yet to see this issue raised by any journalist.

    That’s just one in a litany of issues that could be raised about Russia. Genocide would potentially be another.

    I just find it curious given how much human rights has been at the center of the media storm surrounding the recent WC awards why such little attention has been focused on 2018.

    I can only imagine what Anna Politkovskaya would have thought of all of this.

    • Lev
      December 15, 2010

      yup. a list of journalists killed during the Putin years reads as follows:

      2000[83]

      1. 1 February – Vladimir Yatsina, a photocorrespondent with ITAR-TASS. On his first and only trip to Chechnya he was kidnapped and later killed (by a group of Wahhabis some suggest) [84]. Homicide [J].
      2. 10 February – Ludmila Zamana, Samara. Homicide. Conviction [nJ].
      3. 9 March – Artyom Borovik, Sovershenno sekretno periodical and publishing house, director and journalist. Sheremetyevo-1 Airport, Moscow. Incident not confirmed [?J].
      4. 22 March – Luisa Arzhieva, correspondent for Istina mira newspaper (Moscow). Avtury, Chechnya. Crossfire [?J].
      5. 17 April – Oleg Polukeyev, Homicide.
      6. 1 May – Boris Gashev, literary critic, . Homicide. Conviction [nJ].
      7. 13 May – Alexander Yefremov, Chechnya. A photojournalist with west Siberian newspaper Nashe Vremya, Yefremov died when militants blew up a military jeep in which he was travelling. On previous assignments, Yefremov won acclaim for his news photographs from the war-torn region. Crossfire [J].
      8. 16 July – Igor Domnikov, from Novaya Gazeta, Moscow. Struck over the head with a hammer in the stairwell of his Moscow apartment building, Domnikov lay in a coma for two months. His murderer was identified in 2003 and convicted in 2007 [4]. The men who ordered and organised the attack have been named by his paper but not charged. Homicide [J].
      9. 26 July – Sergei Novikov, Radio Vesna, Smolensk. Shot in a contract killing in stairwell of his apartment building. Claimed that he often criticized the administration of Smolensk Region. Homicide [?J].
      10. 21 September – Iskander Khatloni, Radio Free Europe, Moscow. A native of Tajikistan, Khatloni was killed at night in an axe attack on the street outside his Moscow apartment block. His assailant and the motive of the murder remain unknown. A RFE/RL spokeswoman said Khatloni worked on stories about the human-rights abuses in Chechnya [85]. Homicide [nJ].
      11. 03 October – Sergei Ivanov, Lada-TV, Togliatti. Shot five times in the head and chest in front of his apartment building. As director of largest independent television company in Togliatti, he was an important player on the local political scene [86]. Homicide. Gang responsible on trial [nJ].
      12. 18 October – Georgy Garibyan, journalist with Park TV (Rostov), murdered in Rostov-on-Don [nJ].
      13. 20 October – Oleg Goryansky, freelance journalist, press & TV. Murdered in Cherepovets, Vologda Region. Conviction [nJ].
      14. 21 October – Raif Ablyashev, photographer with Iskra newspaper. Kungur, Perm Region. Homicide [nJ].
      15. 03 November – Sergei Loginov, Lada TV (Togliatti). Incident not confirmed [nJ].
      16. 20 November – Pavel Asaulchenko, cameraman for Austrian TV, Moscow. Contract killing. Conviction of perpetrator [nJ].
      17. 23 November – Adam Tepsurkayev, Reuters, Chechnya. A Chechen cameraman, he was shot at his neighbor’s house in the village of Alkhan-Kala (aka Yermolovka). Tepsurkayev filmed most of Reuters’ footage from Chechnya in 2000, including the Chechen rebel Shamil Basayev having his foot amputated. Homicide (war crime) [J].
      18. 28 November – Nikolai Karmanov, retired journalist. Lyubim, Yaroslavl Region. Homicide [nJ].
      19. 23 December – Valery Kondakov, freelance photographer. Killed in Armavir, Krasnodar Region [nJ].

      2001[87]

      1. 1 February – Eduard Burmagin, Homicide.
      2. 24 February – Leonid Grigoryev, Homicide [nJ].
      3. 8 March – Andrei Pivovarov, Homicide.
      4. 31 March – Oleg Dolgantsev, Homicide [nJ].
      5. 17 May – Vladimir Kirsanov [88], chief editor. Kurgan, Urals Federal District. Homicide [J].
      6. 2 June – Victor Popkov, Novaya gazeta contributore, died in Moscow Region hospital. Wounded in Chechnya two months earlier. Crossfire [J].
      7. 11 September – Andrei Sheiko, Homicide [nJ].
      8. 19 September – Eduard Markevich, 29, editor and publisher of local newspaper Novy Reft in Sverdlovsk Region. Shot in the back [89] in a contract killing, homicide [J].
      9. 5 November – Elina Voronova, Homicide [nJ].
      10. 16 November – Oleg Vedenin, Homicide.
      11. 21 November – Alexander Babaikin, Homicide [nJ].
      12. 1 December – Boris Mityurev, Homicide.

      2002[90]

      1. 18 January – Svetlana Makarenko, Homicide.
      2. 4 March – Konstantin Pogodin, Novoye Delo newspaper, Nizhni Novgorod. Homicide.
      3. 8 March – Natalya Skryl, Nashe Vremya newspaper, Taganrog. Homicide [?J].
      4. 31 March – Valery Batuyev, Moscow News newspaper, Moscow. Homicide [nJ].
      5. 1 April – Sergei Kalinovsky, Moskovskij Komsomolets local edition, Smolensk. Homicide [nJ].
      6. 4 April – Vitaly Sakhn-Vald, photojournalist, Kursk. Homicide. Conviction [nJ].
      7. 25 April – Leonid Shevchenko, Pervoye Chtenie newspaper, Volgograd. Homicide [nJ].
      8. 29 April – Valery Ivanov, founder and chief editor of Tolyattinskoye Obozrenie newspaper, Samara Region [91]. Contract killing [J].
      9. 20 May – Alexander Plotnikov, Gostiny Dvor newspaper, Tyumen. Homicide.
      10. 6 June – Pavel Morozov, Homicide.
      11. 25 June – Oleg Sedinko, founder of Novaya Volna TV & Radio Company, Vladivostok. Contract killing, explosive in stairwell [nJ].
      12. 20 July – Nikolai Razmolodin, general director of Europroject TV & Radio Company, Ulyanovsk. Homicide.
      13. 21 July – Maria Lisichkina Homicide [nJ].
      14. 27 July – Sergei Zhabin, press service of the Moscow Region governor. Homicide [nJ].
      15. 18 August – Nikolai Vasiliev, Cheboksary city, Chuvashia. Homicide. Conviction [nJ].
      16. 25 August – Paavo Voutilainen, former chief editor of Karelia magazine, Karelia. Homicide [nJ].
      17. 4 September – Leonid Kuznetsov, “Periodicals of Mari-El” publishing house, Yoshkar-Ola.[92]. Incident not confirmed [?J].
      18. 20 September – Igor Salikov, head of information security at Moskovskij Komsomolets newspaper in Penza. Contract killing [nJ].
      19. 26 September – Roderick (Roddy) Scott, Frontline TV Company, Great Britain. Crossfire [J].
      20. 2 October – Yelena Popova, Homicide. Conviction [nJ].
      21. 19 October – Leonid Plotnikov Homicide. Conviction [nJ].
      22. 26 October – Tamara Voinova (Stavropol) and Maxim Mikhailov (Kaliningrad), Dubrovka theatre siege (“Nord Ost” show), Moscow. Terrorist Act [nJ].
      23. 21 December – Dmitry Shalayev, Kazan, Tatarstan. Homicide. Conviction [nJ].

      [edit] 2003-2005

      2003[93]

      1. 7 January – Vladimir Sukhomlin, Internet journalist and editor, Serbia.ru, Moscow. Homicide. Off-duty police convicted of his murder, not those behind this contract killing [J].
      2. 11 January – Yury Tishkov, sports commentator, Moscow. Contract killing [nJ].
      3. 21 February – Sergei Verbitsky, publisher BNV newspaper. Chita. Homicide [nJ].
      4. 18 April – Dmitry Shvets, TV-21 Northwestern Broadcasting, Murmansk. Deputy director of the independent TV-21 station (Northwestern Broadcasting), he was shot dead outside the TV offices. Shvets’ colleagues said the station had received multiple threats for its reporting on influential local politicians. Contract killing [nJ].
      5. 3 July – Yury Shchekochikhin, Novaya gazeta, Moscow. Deputy editor of Novaya gazeta and a Duma deputy since 1993, he died just a few days before his scheduled trip to USA to discuss the results of his journalist investigation with FBI officials. He investigated “Three Whales Corruption Scandal” that allegedly involved high-ranking FSB officials. Shchekochikhin died from an acute allergic reaction. There has been much speculation about cause of his death. Investigation into his death has been opened and closed four times. Homicide [J].
      6. 4 July – Ali Astamirov, France Presse. Went missing in Nazran [?J].
      7. 18 July – Alikhan Guliyev, freelance TV journalist, from Ingushetia. Moscow. Homicide [nJ].
      8. 10 August – Martin Kraus, Dagestan. On way to Chechnya. Homicide [nJ].
      9. 9 October – Alexei Sidorov, Tolyatinskoye Obozreniye, Togliatti. Second editor-in-chief of this local newspaper to be murdered. Predecessor Valery Ivanov shot in April 2002 [94]. Homicide. Supposed killer acquitted [?J].
      10. 24 October – Alexei Bakhtin, journalist and businessman, formerly Mariiskaya pravda. Mari El. Homicide [nJ].
      11. 30 October – Yury Bugrov, editor of Provincial Telegraph. Balakovo, Saratov Region. Homicide. Conviction [nJ].
      12. 25 December – Pyotr Babenko, editor of Liskinskaya gazeta. Liski, Voronezh Region. Homicide [nJ].

      2004[95]

      1. 1 February – Yefim Sukhanov, ATK-Media, Archangelsk. Homicide. Conviction [nJ].
      2. 23 March – Farit Urazbayev,cameraman, Vladivostok TV/Radio Company, Vladivostok. Incident not Confirmed [nJ].
      3. 2 May – Shangysh Mongush, correspondent with Khemchiktin Syldyzy newspaper, Tuva. Homicide [?J].
      4. 9 May – Adlan Khasanov, Reuters reporter, died in Grozny bomb attack that killed Chechen President Ahmed Kadyrov. Terrorist Act [J].
      5. 9 June – Paul Klebnikov, chief editor of newly-established Russian version of Forbes magazine, Moscow. Contract killing, alleged perpetrators put on trial and acquitted. Homicide [J].
      6. 1 July – Maxim Maximov, journalist with Gorod newspaper, St Petersburg. Body not found. Homicide [J].
      7. 10 July – Zoya Ivanova, TV presenter, Buryatia State Television & Radio Company, Ulan Ude, Buryatia. Homicide [nJ].
      8. 17 July – Pail Peloyan, editor of Armyansky Pereulok magazine, Moscow. Homicide [nJ].
      9. 3 August – Vladimir Naumov, nationalist reporter, Cossack author (Russky Vestnik, Zavtra), Moscow Region. Homicide [nJ].
      10. 24 August – Svetlana Shishkina,journalist, Kazan, Tatarstan. Homicide. Conviction [nJ].
      11. 24 August – Oleg Belozyorov, Moscow-Volgograd flight. Terrorist Act [nJ].
      12. 18 September – Vladimir Pritchin, editor-in-chief of North Baikal TV & Radio Company, Buryatia. Homicide [?J].
      13. 27 September – Jan Travinsky (St Petersburg), in Irkutsk as political activist for election campaign. [96]. Homicide. Conviction [nJ].

      2005[97]

      1. 23 May – Pavel Makeyev, reporter for TNT-Pulse Company, Rostov-on-Don. Run down while photographing illegal street racing. Incident not Confirmed [?J].
      2. 28 July – Magomed Varisov, political analyst and journalist, shot dead near his home in Makhachkala, Dagestan. He “had received threats, was being followed and had unsuccessfully sought help from the local police” according to Committee to Protect Journalists. Sharia Jamaat claimed responsibility for the murder.[98]. Homicide [J].
      3. 31 August – Alexander Pitersky, Baltika Radio reporter, Saint Petersburg. Homicide [?J].
      4. 3 September – Vladimir Pashutin, Smolensky Literator newspaper, Smolensk. Not Confirmed [nJ].
      5. 13 October – Tamirlan Kazikhanov, head of press service for Anti-Terrorist Center of the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs’s Main Department for the Southern Federal District, Nalchik. Crossfire [J].
      6. 4 November – Kira Lezhneva, reporter with Kamensky rabochii newspaper, Sverdlovsk Region.[99]. Homicide. Conviction [nJ].

      [edit] 2006-2008

      2006 [100]

      1. 8 January – Vagif Kochetkov, newly-appointed Trud correspondent in the region, killed and robbed in Tula. Acquittal [nJ].
      2. 26 February – Ilya Zimin, worked for NTV Russia television channel, killed in Moscow flat. Suspect in Moldova trial. Acquittal [nJ].
      3. 4 May – Oksana Teslo, media worker, Moscow Region. Arson attack on dacha. Homicide [nJ].
      4. 14 May – Oleg Barabyshkin, director of radio station, Chelyabinsk. Homicide. Conviction [nJ].
      5. 23 May – Vyacheslav Akatov, special reporter, Business Moscow TV show, murdered in Mytyshchi Moscow Region. Killer caught and convicted. Homicide. Conviction [nJ].
      6. 25 June – Anton Kretenchuk, cameraman, local “Channel 38” TV, killed in Rostov-on-Don. Homicide. Conviction [nJ].
      7. 25 July – Yevgeny Gerasimenko, journalist with Saratovsky Rasklad newspaper. Murdered in Saratov. Conviction [nJ].
      8. 31 July – Anatoly Kozulin, retired freelance journalist. Ukhta, Komi. Homicide [nJ].
      9. 8 August – Alexander Petrov, editor-in-chief, Right to Choose magazine Omsk, murdered with family while on holiday in Altai Republic. Under-age murderer charged and prosecuted. Homicide. Conviction [nJ].
      10. 17 August – Elina Ersenoyeva, reporter for Chechenskoye obshchestvo newspaper. Abducted in Grozny, Chechnya. Missing [?J].
      11. 13 September – Vyacheslav Plotnikov,reporter, local “Channel 41” TV, Voronezh. Incident not Confirmed [nJ].
      12. 7 October – Anna Politkovskaya, commentator with Novaya gazeta, Moscow, shot in her apartment building’s elevator;[101][102][103][104]. Four accused in contract killing, acquitted in February 2009 [J].
      13. 16 October – Anatoly Voronin, Itar-TASS news agency, Moscow. Homicide [nJ].
      14. 28 December – Vadim Kuznetsov, editor-in-chief of World & Home. Saint Petersburg magazine, killed in Saint Petersburg. Homicide [nJ].

      2007[105]

      1. 14 January – Yury Shebalkin, retired journalist, formerly with Kaliningradskaya pravda. Homicide in Kaliningrad. Conviction [nJ].
      2. 20 January – Konstantin Borovko,presenter of “Gubernia” TV company (Russian: “Губерния”), killed in Khabarovsk. [47]. Homicide. Conviction [nJ].
      3. 2 March – Ivan Safronov, military columnist of Kommersant newspaper. Died in Moscow, cause of death disputed.[106][107]. Incident not Confirmed. Investigation under Incitement to Suicide (Article 110) [?J].
      4. 15 March – Leonid Etkind, director at Karyera newspaper. Abduction and homicide in Vodnik, Saratov Region. Conviction [nJ].
      5. 5 April – Vyacheslav Ifanov, Novoye televidenie Aleiska, cameraman. Previously attacked by local military. Aleisk, Altai. Incident not Confirmed [?J].

      * Marina Pisareva, deputy head of Russian office of German media group Bertelsmann was found dead at her country cottage outside Moscow in April[108][109]

      2008

      (Putin’s final months as president)

      1. 8 February – Yelena Shestakova, former journalist, St Petersburg. Killer sent to psychiatric prison. Homicide [nJ].
      2. 21 March – Gadji Abashilov, chief of Dagestan State TV & Radio Company VGTRK, shot in his car in Makhachkala. Homicide [?J].
      3. 21 March – Ilyas Shurpayev, Dagestani journalist covering Caucasus on Channel One, was strangled with a belt by robbers in Moscow. [110][111]. Alleged killers tracked to Tajikistan and convicted there of his murder. Homicide [?J].

      [edit] The Medvedev presidency
      [edit] 2008-2010

      2008 [112]

      1. 31 August – Magomed Yevloyev, Ingush oppositionist, founder of Ingushetiya.ru, Moscow-based lawyer, shot on return to country while in custody of Ingush police officers.[113][114][115]. Killer convicted of negligent homicide, sentence subsequently mitigated. Homicide. Conviction [J].
      2. 2 September – Abdulla Alishayev, (aka Telman Alishayev), TV presenter on Muslim channel, shot dead in car, Makhachkala [116]. Homicide [J].

      2009 [117]

      1. 4 January – Shafig Amrakhov, Murmansk, shot in stairwell entrance in late December 2008. Homicide [nJ].
      2. 4 January – Vladislav Zakharchuk, manager with Arsenyevskie vesti newspaper, Vladivostok. Arson suggested cause of death. Incident not Confirmed [?J].
      3. 19 January – Anastasia Baburova, Novaya gazeta, Moscow.On 19 January Stanislav Markelov, lawyer for Novaya gazeta, anti-fascist activist and opponent of human rights abuses in Chechnya, was shot and killed in the centre of Moscow.[118] With him died Anastasia Baburova a trainee reporter with Novaya Gazeta, and a fellow anti-fascist activist.[119][120] In early November 2009 a man and a woman were arrested for the killing.[121]. Homicide [J].
      4. 30 March – Sergei Protazanov, layout artist with Grazhdanskoye soglasie newspaper, Khimki nr. Moscow. Link to work questioned. Incident not Confirmed [nJ].
      5. 29 June – Vyacheslav Yaroshenko, chief editor of Corruption and Criminality newspaper, Volgograd. Cause of death remains unclear. Incident not Confirmed [?J].
      6. 15 July – Natalia Estemirova[122], a human rights activist with Memorial, who worked with journalists from Novaya gazeta, especially Anna Politkovskaya, and occasionally published in the newspaper herself, having been a TV reporter pre-1999. After years of investigating murders and kidnapping in Chechnya Estemirova was herself abducted that morning in Grozny and found, shot dead, by the roadside several hours later in neighbouring Ingushetia.[123]. Homicide [J].
      7. 11 August – Malik Akhmedilov, [124] deputy chief editor of the Avar language newspaper Khakikat (Truth), was found shot dead near the Dagestan capital Makhachkala. Homicide [?J].
      8. 25 October – Maksharip Aushev was shot dead in Nalchik, capital of Kabardino-Balkaria.[125] When Magomed Yevloyev gave up running Ingushetia.ru, and his replacement (Rosa Malsagova) had to flee abroad to escape threats and harassment, Aushev ran the successor website Ingushetia.org. Link to past or present work unclear. Homicide [?J].
      9. 16 November – Olga Kotovskaya, Kaskad radio & TV company, Kaliningrad. Fall from height? Incident not Confirmed. Investigation under “Incitement to suicide” (Article 110) [?J].

      2010[126]

      1. 20 January – Konstantin Popov died from a beating received a fortnight earlier by Russian police, in a detoxification centre for drunk and disorderly.[127]. 26-year-old police sergeant charged with his killing. Homicide [nJ].
      2. 23 February – Journalist Ivan Stepanov was murdered at his dacha [128]. Homicide [nJ].
      3. 20 March – Maxim Zuyev was found murdered in a Kaliningrad flat he was renting. Seven years earlier he was interrogated by the city’s police for publishing an anonymous letter alleging corruption among high-ranking police officers in the enclave.[129][130][131][132]. “Crime solved”, says Investigative Committee [?J].
      4. 05 May – Shamil Aliyev, founder of radio stations, director of local TV, showbiz impresario, Makhachkala, Dagestan[133]. Homicide [?J]
      5. 13 May – Said Magomedov, director of local television station, Sergokalinsky district, Dagestan. Shot dead when travelling with repairmen to restore sabotaged TV transmitter. Terrorist act [J].
      6. 25 June – Dmitry Okkert, Moscow. A presenter with the Expert TV channel, Okkert was found stabbed to death in his own apartment. The director of the Expert media holding, Valery Fadeyev, does not believe that the brutal killing of his colleague was linked to his journalistic activities. Homicide [?J].
      7. 25 July – Bella Ksalova, Cherkessk. A correspondent for the Caucasian Knot website and news agency, Ksalova died after being hit by a car on the street where she lived. Not confirmed [?J]
      8. 1 August – Malika Betiyeva, Grozny-Shatoi highway. The deputy chief editor of Molodyozhnaya smena, and Chechnya correspondent of the “Dosh” (Word) magazine, died with four of her immediate family in a car crash. Not confirmed [?J]
      9. 11 August – Magomed Sultanmagomedov, Makhachkala. The director of the “Makhachkala TV” station was assassinated in the Dagestan capital when his vehicle came under gunfire [?J]

      • Lev
        December 15, 2010

        You know what? Let’s give them the WC. But if a reporter judges Russia’s winning goal to have been offside, he might get assassinated…

        • Vj
          December 15, 2010

          Akin to saying,

          You know what? Let’s give them the WC. But if two players hug after scoring, they might get arrested…

          Yeah, flimsy argument..

          • Lev
            December 15, 2010

            yeah, i guess giving you a list of all those killed journalists is a pretty flimsy argument…

          • Vj
            December 15, 2010

            @ Lev

            You know which argument was flimsy..

  34. ajani
    December 15, 2010

    For the record, I honestly do not think there will be legal or cultural issues in either Qatar’s or Russia’s case. I do, however, think that the principles should still be considered, and they DO matter.

  35. Kxevin
    December 15, 2010

    It’s why I say it’s kind of a pointless argument, though it is certainly worth having because it’s always of value to articulate a point. But there are a number of things that you simply cannot argue about. Politics and morality are, for me, Nos. 1 and 2 on that list, because they are subjective and highly personal.

    • December 15, 2010

      But we have to give credit for all those who contributed in the discussion. For such a sensitive topic to keep the discussion between the lines of respect deserve credit.

      New test passed!

      Now talk about Alves and his contract renewal…

    • ajani
      December 15, 2010

      Yeah, fair point. I think it has been good to discuss, though, it’s eye-opening…

  36. soccermomof4
    December 15, 2010

    Wise words from one of my favorite (the most unselfish) footballers (context note- he was speaking about the Qatar deal; we can extend the sentiment to ALL that has been said here, IMHO):

    “Keita is also pleased with Barça’s deal with the Qatar Foundation. “If the club decided that, then it’s good. It doesn’t matter that it’s a Muslim country. I am Muslim and I’ve never had a problem here, respect is what matters” he said”
    – Keita-taken from the Barca website-

    RESPECT IS WHAT MATTERS

    We can argue about this all day. You can’t demand that people’s hearts change, but it is within your rights to demand respect (FOR ALL).

    please -this was not meant to reopen the shirt debate again

  37. K(legit)
    December 15, 2010

    Sometimes, it is best to stick to football..something that actually makes sense in this increasingly chaotic, paranoid world.

    • soccermomof4
      December 15, 2010

      agree!

      What’s this buzz about an Iniesta transfer? I hate the silly seasons.

  38. Eklavya
    December 15, 2010

    How do you think things look when people see (realise) your avatar?

    • Vj
      December 15, 2010

      To whom is this post intended?

      Something tells me its me..

  39. Vj
    December 15, 2010

    There are strong issues about Russia and Qatar hosting the WC no doubt.. But as long as those are present, the host countries are up to their best behaviour.. For 1 month, they will be as accommodating as possible to fans from all over the world..

    People were worrying about South Africa during the Confed. Cup about their crime situation but the main WC went fine.. The only untoward incident I heard was that the England team got robbed and they had to go home in dirty underwear (which they deserved if you ask me :P).

    Ditto for Brazil, Russia and Qatar.. I’d be surprised if anything bad happens during the WC..

    Hosting a World Cup never improves any situation – social nor political so we should stop wishing that all the problems we have with the host to go away.. If they do however, its not gonna be because of the WC..

    Currently, human rights, crime etc. are the least of the concerns of the ‘committee’ that votes to choose the hosts.. Legal bribes however.. :\

    • Lev
      December 15, 2010

      Lol, I personally was very surprised how little reports of crime there were during the WC in South Africa. This summer also saw the (waaaait for it….) Women’s Softball World Cup here in Venezuela and a Chinese player got hit by a stray bullet, while on the field! Then again, J-burg got nothing on Caracas! hahaha

      • Vj
        December 15, 2010

        *Strikes Caracas off his places to visit list*

  40. tutomate
    December 15, 2010

    I’m sorry but this was not a necessary post. What Blatter said was best left alone. Ny problem is that this brings up too many things that we all know too little of but feel very strongly about. A recipe for controversy and insults. Those insults may not be direct but they are there when we talks about countries and their peoples. I personally agree with what Lev, Ramzi, Jason, Diego have said earlier. Also i’m glad Kxevin tried to change the conversation.

    Who are we to judge another country its peoples and its customs. Are we free of sin? Do we have good human rights track record? As an American I can say NO. It is easy to criticize other peoples and or countries but like they say in Spain “primero mirate el ombligo” or look within before criticizing.

    Sometimes people talk about equality and tolerance when it comes to gay rights. But what about equality and tolerance to those that don’t feel the same way about it? Is there opinion any less important because they don’t agree with your views?
    Do i believe people should be stoned for those things? Of course not. But that does not mean they views are any less valid.

    We should just stick to sporting matters. This really has little to do with football and more to do with politics.

    • tutomate
      December 15, 2010

      Or like SOMA4 said

      lets just respect each other.

    • blitzen
      December 15, 2010

      If you don’t think football and politics are interrelated, boy are you supporting the wrong club! 😉

      • tutomate
        December 15, 2010

        Am I?

        Don’t think so.

        Besides i never said they had nothing to do with each other.

  41. Liva
    December 15, 2010

    Well, I am going to give Blatter the benefit of doubt, because I think he may have meant that they should refrain from sexual activities in public. Although it doesn’t change the fact that he is an idiot and that world would be a better place if he would just hold his mouth shut.

    In general, I believe that when you visit a different country you should respect the cultural and social norms that exist there; you do not need to start acting completely differently, but you should be aware that some things that you consider customary, might be offensive somewhere else (like, if you know that people there do not like seeing couples kissing on the streets, you do not have to provoke them by having a make out session in the middle of the street, you can just as well kiss your girlfriend/boyfriend a little later). It is like visiting another person’s house – when you are at your home, you might walk around in your underwear, put your legs on the table, etc, but you are not going to do that in a house of your colleague, for example, right? I understand that in the case of Qatar the problem is a lot more serious than putting your legs on the table in someone else’s home, but still – although you may consider it to be very wrong (as do I), it is the way it is there. Countries change their laws, they change their attitude to certain things with time. All countries go through their own peculiar development stages. Perhaps by the time the World Cup starts in 2022, situation will have improved.

    I am certain that Qatar understands that the entire world will be looking closely at them, at what is going on there. I don’t think they will do anything to harm their reputation, exactly the opposite – I think they will want to improve it as much as possible.

    And Russia probably has about the same amount of problems that Qatar has, just somehow it is being slightly overlooked. I wasn’t that surprised about Qatar getting the World Cup, but I really was surprised about Russia. They are already hosting the Winter Olympic Games in 2014. Of course, they are not as big as Summer Olympics, but still… That’s a lot of money, even for such a huge country.

  42. Kxevin
    December 15, 2010

    So yes, let’s talk about Alves and his renewal. Sport says that he met with reps of Citeh right after the 5-0 Clasic beatdown. The agent of Alves says “No. No way.” But what else would you expect him to say? “Yep, we met with them, because you guys won’t pay a brotha.”

    I’m not really all that worried, for the following reasons:

    –Any player would be a fool to leave this club. Sometimes, you adjust your view of your personal valuation to reflect happiness. So Chelsea and Citeh are offering up to 2m more than we are. What’s the value in that? Is it about money at this point in Alves’ career? Perhaps it is, but I rather doubt it. Who the hell is he going to do what he does with at another club? So he runs up and down the wing at Citeh, and pumps in crosses to whatever striker, Ballodebayez, that Citeh has in there? Or running up and down the wing and pumping in crosses to Drogba, while living in Chelsea?

    If he wants that, rock on. If he wants to leave the best club in the world, then good riddance to him.

    –We can’t replace Alves. We already knew that. But for the price, we can get somebody who will make us feel pretty good while the Masia graduate is readied.

    • tutomate
      December 15, 2010

      Frankly I’m not too worried. I think there will be a renewal or at least I hope so. If Alves leaves we won’t be able to replace him. We will do just fine but we can;t replace him right now. No one does what he does the when he does it. and he has such good chemistry with the team on the pitch he is really a RMW that also plays as a RB.

      • tutomate
        December 15, 2010

        Sorry, meant to say: No one does what he does as often as he does or the way he does.

    • Jnice
      December 15, 2010

      A deal will get done. Bet if it was up to Pep, he would give him that 2 million.

      • Nik
        December 15, 2010

        Unfortunately, roSELL is in charge. Who knows what he’ll do next in the pursuit of “balancing the books”?

  43. blitzen
    December 15, 2010

    Dang, Inter is through to the Club World Cup final.

  44. Lev
    December 15, 2010

    How much is Alves currently making? He must be crazy to want to leave Barça. People are actually claiming that we play the best football EVER and they might very well be right. Why would you want to leave that, only to become even richer? Are we paying him that badly?

    • Nik
      December 15, 2010

      It’s probably less an issue of money and more of respect.

  45. Meh
    December 15, 2010

    I struggle to see what is so wrong about blatter’s comment. What did you expect him to say ? Did you expect him to tell gays ” the quatar laws are bs dont abide them , have ilegal sex there will be no consequences” or better yet did you expect him to bash quatar because he doesnt agree with their laws ? Lets get real . Gay upeople need to realize that not everyone is out to get them and stop blowing everything out of proportions Qatar have laws you either abide by them or dont visit
    This would be like me bashing the Usa because im not allowed to marry more than women like i could in my home country
    Every country has its principles you either respect them or stay in your country

    • Kxevin
      December 15, 2010

      But define “stop blowing everything out of proportions.” If you think that your lifestyle is under assault, how do you balance that proportion. In America, people say “We’re too politically correct. I should be able to say what I want.” Cynics will note that the people howling with outrage over this unfair muzzling are white males.

      So where is the proportion there, right? To the wronged party, you can’t blow it out of proportion, because it’s your life. If a gay couple is attending the World Cup, and meet for lunch, what if they want to kiss hello, as my wife and I do? Which is why I say that we can debate and be respectful while doing so, but at the end of it all, it’s about Qatar and individual decisions.

      Which is why I have moved on to Alves.

      • ooga aga
        December 15, 2010

        “Cynics will note that the people howling with outrage over this unfair muzzling are white males.”

        almost always true, though you might also find someone fitting a slightly different demographic, yet always privileged, entitled…and either never having faced discrimination or very incapable of self-reflection…

      • Meh
        December 15, 2010

        Well i am black and nuslim so i know all about oppression and its not nice i totally get that but i just dont see what the big deal is about what blatter said
        if for example people got killed in sight in Qatar for being black and blatter said ” dont go out in public if you are black ” i wouldnt be upset with him i’d be upset with Qatar blatter is actually giving gay people a good advise

  46. Lev
    December 15, 2010

    “This would be like me bashing the Usa because im not allowed to marry more than women like i could in my home country.”

    Actually i think in Utah you can. And not just 4 either 😉

    • Jose
      December 15, 2010

      I can vouch for that!! 😉

      Disclaimer: please note that polygamy is actually quite illegal in Utah and under the laws of the Church of the Latter Day Saints. In fact, Utah is probably more aggressive in prosecuting polygamy than most other states, due to heightened awareness of the issue.

  47. Creep
    December 15, 2010

    Sooo…. does this mean that none of the real madrid players are allowed in Qatar with exception of Casillas?

  48. vicsoc8
    December 15, 2010

    In a world of hypersensitive political correctness, I actually thought the joke was quite funny. However, I’m of the opinion that most people take themselves and just about everything else too seriously, so take my opinion with that grain of salt.

  49. ooga aga
    December 15, 2010

    man, meh and creep, who have never posted, are the last straw.

    please, a new thread, i for one would love to poke sepp in the blatter, he is kinda roly-poly cute, but people are now starting to disrespect gays and women, which is the last thing we need. lets respect luke, respect others views, and move on to something we can unify around…beautiful football. i would like to think that barca folks are thoughtful, progressively-minded, but you never know, you might find a type who would have supported Franco posting on this blog, you never know…

    go congo over inter, much as i heart samu, i hate the mou mou residoo-doo

    • blitzen
      December 15, 2010

      Seconded.

      Thank you, Luke for bringing the topic up for discussion. It was interesting, but it’s time for a new topic, please.

      • Jose
        December 15, 2010

        I think Iniesta and the bear deserve their own post! 🙂

  50. ooga aga
    December 15, 2010

    sevilla and villareal have qualified for the next round of Europa. atletico plays for their spot tomorrow; getafe has already been eliminated.

    cant wait for friday. messi says he wants to avoid the italian teams; pep g. says he doesnt want the french. that leaves only…

  51. Soy Culé
    December 15, 2010

    Hey guys.

    Excellent article, Luke. Your arguments and perception of what’s right and what’s wrong is extremely admirable.

    I’m not gonna say much about it, though (what can I say that hasn’t already been said?).
    Just that, regardless of everyone’s views, Qatar should never have gotten the World Cup. If you disagree, then you disagree, but that doesn’t change the fact that there’s a lot of variables that contribute to this arguably being the worst World Cup host in WC history.

    Also, keep in mind that this is still 12 years away, not tomorrow or Friday. Who knows what will happen in that amount of time. Maybe FIFA will be exposed as the corrupt, money-hungry insane asylum that it is, and we’ll all be calling it “FIFAgate”. Who knows.

    Cheers all.

  52. Soy Culé
    December 15, 2010

    PS, GolTV is replaying the Barça-Sociedad game right now (5pm EST), if anyone wants to watch it again. 🙂

  53. Diego S.
    December 15, 2010

    Can We Post a New Thread Please ?

    – Iniesta and the Bear 😀

    What’s your favourite home and away shirt ?

    Home – 09/10 Season
    Away – 08/09 Season

  54. Kari
    December 15, 2010

    Everyone knows what we should (have) be following is (was) the Pique Tree Saga (that is now over).

  55. barca96
    December 15, 2010

    Ohhhhh shit.
    Now Barca’s homosexual fans are not happy either 😆
    Everybody’s hatin’ on Qatar now

  56. Fares
    December 16, 2010

    Sorry but I don’t get it … if there is a law about homosexuals having sex in the public, then they better respect that law.

    Hell I grew up in Austria and am used to drinking in public (on the street and in the parks), when I visited California a few years back, I was told that it is not allowed to drink in the public, therefore should I have just said “Hell no, I can do what I want”?
    I would have been in jail quicker then I would have been able to say “Oh shit”

    Sorry, but laws are laws, whether we agree to them or not is another matter, but laws are there and they are to be respected whether you like them or not … just saying this is stupid and outdated and I won’t oblige is stupid and insensitive

    Hell as far as I know it is not allowed to have sex in public in 90% of the world anyway, so what is the big deal?

    Everyone should respect the traditions and laws of other countries, you are a visitor there no matter what, and a visitor should always respect the laws and traditions of the country they are visiting no matter how stupid they might sound!

  57. Tarek
    December 16, 2010

    Luke, it is painfully obvious that you’re just pis.sed that Qatar won the bid instead of your country, despite what you say. It’s really very simple to understand: Everybody should respect the laws of the country they are in. I just don’t see how you can argue against this.

    “But they also certainly should not go so far as to host THEIR event, the biggest sporting event in the world by far, in a place where the very fact of being homosexual is in itself illegal”

    And why not? This is the “World” Cup we are talking about, no country in the Middle East has ever hosted this event, and Qatar is the country most capable of hosting it (out of the Middle East, of course) I don’t know what posses you to think in that self centered way.

  58. Nabeel
    December 16, 2010

    Oh my. I would have loved to join the conversation while it was in full flow. I would just like to add that I thought this was a great post and that the conversation in the comments, while a little heated at times, was mostly very healthy. I have to congratulate the Barca community (this is self-congratulation to the extreme, but I feel it’s important here to recognize that we as a community did not resort to ugly name calling).

    It seems that a consensus did emerge – for example, about respecting LGBT rights. This in itself is an achievement if you consider the community. I am one of those who would have made homophobic jokes a few years ago, and while I could say I am ashamed of what I did in puberty, I could also say that I am proud that I have moved on. Both are true. (In many arguments, both sides may often be right-in the conversation between Isaiah and Lev,both had very good points and I think that neither is seized with hatred or malice for others.)

    Secondly, it is impossible to judge or understand another place without really spending time there. Ramzi and mei and Diego are completely right when they ask others to visit Qatar before judging it. You can read and see and hear many things, but that does not meant they are true (or rather, that they represent an absolute truth that can be then generalized to apply to a nation or country). The widespread misperceptions about Qatar and the Middle East are matched by those about America, and both sides believe they are right (obviously). This is why in the conversation between Ramzi and Jose, I would go with Ramzi. You have to find a middle ground, you have to start talking. It is possible to remain true to your principles but negotiate with someone you completely disagree with. Jose was correct in that truth and science are not based on compromises, but then, as Kxevin said, there is no real truth in either politics or morality. They are all shades of grey.

    Luke is absolutely right – football can be a powerful force for good, and I hope that hosting the World Cup in Qatar will help change that country as well as the world for the better. Wishful thinking, I know, but at the very least I think that there will be both good and bad effects. Let’s try to promote the good effects. It is not unreasonable to think that Qatar will reconsider its legislation to be more egalitarian, under the weight of the international community’s pressure (if it exists).

    Laugh me off as a cynic, but hope drives all I do; for if I did not have hope, faith, and belief that the future is better, there would be no point to my life – to any life, for that matter.

    Finally – and my apologies to the moderators if I am restarting a topic they’d prefer to have dead – this is a must-see documentary about homosexuality in pro sport.

    http://www.cbc.ca/fifth/2010-2011/thelegacyofbrendanburke/

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