The FIFA World Cup is to be held in Russia next year and following the debacle of the Sochi Winter Games, the tournament’s anti-discrimination advisors are set to issue guidelines for LGBT+ community members.
With its “gay propaganda” laws still in place, you’d be forgiven for wondering what will happen to fans at the FIFA World Cup who choose to fly rainbow flags, especially as these were banned at the Sochi Winter Olympics in 2014.
“There will definitely be no ban on wearing rainbow symbols in Russia. It’s clear you can come here and not be fined for expressing feelings,” says Russian Football Union official, Alexei Smertin, according to Gay Star News.
FIFA advisors, Football Against Racism in Europe (FARE) network say the guide will advise LGBT+ communities to be cautious in any place which doesn’t seem welcoming.
FARE executive director Piara Powar says. “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.”
A number of Human Rights activists were arrested at the Sochi Olympics in 2014, with 14 LGBT+ rights activists being arrested for protesting in Moscow and St. Petersburg on the same day as the opening.
According to Gay Star News, co-sponsor of the ‘non-traditional relationships’ bill, Vitaly Milonov says that because the law has been approved by the federal legislature and sign by the president, the government doesn’t have the right, or the authority, to suspend it as suggested by Smertin.