Month: November 2017

Homosexual fans warned against displaying affection at Russia World Cup

Gay rights activists march in Russia’s second city of St. Petersburg May 1, 2013, during their rally against a controversial law in the city that activists see as violating the rights of gays. AFP PHOTO / OLGA MALTSEVA (Photo credit should read OLGA MALTSEVA/AFP/Getty Images)

LGBT fans will be warned against overt public displays of affection when they enter Russia to spectate the World Cup next summer.

FARE — formerly Football Against Racism in Europe and now a pressure group that campaigns for equality in football — will be producing a cautionary guide and dispersed to fans travelling to the tournament.

Piara Powar, executive director of Fare, said: “The guide will advise gay people to be cautious in any place which is not seen to be welcoming to the LGBT community. The same message is there for black and ethnic minority fans — do go to the World Cup but be cautious. If you have gay fans walking down the street holding hands, will they face danger in doing so — that depends on which city they are in and the time of day.”

“The guide will also include some detailed explanations of, for example, the actual situation of the LGBT community in Russia. It is not a crime to be gay but there is a law against the promotion of homosexuality to minors. Issues relating to the LGBT community are not part of the public discourse. Gay people have a place in Russia which is quite hidden and underground.”

FARE has also appealed to FIFA officially on behalf of two fans’ groups from Britain and Germany to ask for permission to raise a rainbow flag inside stadiums during the World Cup, which begins in June next year. They have also suggest that the world governing body introduce a specific official rule whereby fans can be reprimanded under a specific charge of homophobia.

FARE’s appeals follows the court of arbitration for sport’s decision to cancel two fines imposed by FIFA on Mexico’s FA after their fans loudly chanted the Spanish word “puto” — widely known to be an anti-gay slur — during international matches. FIFA had to bring charges under general fan misbehaviour as opposed to specific homophobic abuse.

“Since the Brazil World Cup we have seen variations of that chant becoming a big thing in football,” said Powar. “There is no offence of homophobia in FIFA’s rules and we have made clear that there should be. It is critical there is a clear message about FIFA’s ability to act in these cases against the fans that are responsible.”

Romelu Lukaku could face retrospective ban for kicking out at player

Romelu Lukaku could be hit with a three-match ban that would rule him out the Manchester derby after appearing to have kicking out at Brighton defender Gaetan Bong.

Referee Neil Swarbrick, in charge of United’s 1-0 win at Old Trafford on Saturday, is due to submit his match report on Monday and after if wgucg the FA would review video footage of the incident.

The incident, which took happened at the Brighton penalty area in the second half when United hosted Brighton during the weekend, took place just moments before Ashley Young’s deflected winner for United and went unpunished at the time.

Video footage appears to show Lukaku aiming two kicks at Bong, the second of which looks to have made contact the Brighton defender.

In such incidents, the FA can look at the video and choose to charge the 24-year-old Belgian with violent conduct even if it is not mentioned in Swarbrick’s officiating report.

Should Lukaku be found guilty of the charge, it would rule him out of United’s next three domestic games — against Watford at Vicarage Road on Tuesday, against Arsenal at the Emirates on Saturday and the first Manchester derby of the season against Manchester City the following weekend.

The latter case could prove to be a vital fixture as it features the two teams currently standing on the summit of the Premier League table.

Lukaku has scored 12 goals in 20 games since his summer switch from Everton but has just one in his last 10 appearances, and should he be suspended United would turn to Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who has made three substitute appearances since returning from a seven-month injury lay-off.

Blind Liverpool fan makes formal complaint against Seville police

A blind Liverpool supporter claimed that he felt “vulnerable” and discriminated after his cane was snatched from him by police in Seville and called on the Football Association to do more to protect British supporters travelling abroad.

“I travel all round the world watching Liverpool and have been to places you would expect to be much more hostile but they were massively overzealous,” said Eamon, the supporter, who preferred not to give his surname. “We made a formal complaint to the police and I’ll definitely be following it up.”

Eamon follows Liverpool home and away but missed much of the first half of Liverpool’s dramatic 3-3 Champions League draw on Tuesday and says he was subjected to heavy-handed policing at Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan, Sevilla’s home stadium.

“They snatched my cane away,” said Eamon. “I snatched it back, they snatched it away again and a couple of people intervened to get it back. For people to think it’s all right in this day and age to treat people like that and tell blind people they shouldn’t be at the football is disgusting.”

“I asked a female police officer for help to get to the doors. She asked me for his ticket and she said: ‘He’s a blind person, he shouldn’t be here.’”

Eamon and his girlfriend Helena Martel subsequently made an official complaint to the Spanish police about aggressive treatment by the authorities.

The couple arrived at the stadium together on Tuesday evening and struggled to locate Eamon’s friends whom he was supposed to be watching the match alongside. “Spanish police treated him horribly,” said Helena, 44, who lives in Chester. “The fact he was blind made the situation even more awful.”