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Former NBA star Amaechi slams FIFA head

Wed 15 Dec 2010 In: International News View at Wayback

John Amaechi Gay basketball star John Amaechi has slammed the head of FIFA for saying gay people should not have sex if they travel to Qatar for the 2022 Football World Cup. Sepp Blatter was unable to keep a straight face when asked at a press conference in South Africa what to advise gay people who hope to go to the Arab emirate. Same-sex relationships are forbidden in the mainly Muslim country. "I would say that they should refrain from sexual activities," Blatter answered after a long pause. Amaechi, a former NBA star who made history when he came out after he retired in 2007, says Blatter has shown "archaic, Neanderthal ignorance" towards the world's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. "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," he wrote on his website. "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." Amaechi said Blatter's comments were more damaging than they may have appeared at face value. "Blatter's words aren't really about sex, as I can't imagine that many gay football fans would be bold enough to do it in public in Qatar. Rather, what he is really saying is 'Don't be camp, don't hold hands, don't look into each other's eyes, don't book rooms with one bed, don't have candle-lit dinners in the restaurant...' and on and on," he said. "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."    

Credit: Daily News staff

First published: Wednesday, 15th December 2010 - 12:48pm

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