15 Dec 2010

Gay outrage over Blatter's comments on Qatar

4:33 pm on 15 December 2010

Gay rights campaigners have called on Fifa president Sepp Blatter to apologise or resign over comments about the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

In what appeared to be a joking comment, he said gay football fans should refrain from sexual activity in the country, where homosexuality is illegal.

Mr Blatter was speaking at a news conference in South Africa to launch a World Cup legacy project and used the opportunity to defend Fifa's choice of awarding future tournaments to Russia and Qatar, the BBC reports.

The head of football's world governing body was asked about the potential treatment of gay fans attending a World Cup in the Middle East.

Homosexuality is illegal in Qatar, but Mr Blatter appeared to laugh it off, when he said they should refrain from any sexual activities.

His comments have sparked anger amongst gay rights activists.

Qatar was the surprise winner of the race to host the 2022 World Cup, beating Australia, Japan, South Korea and the United States when the 22-man Fifa executive committee voted in their favour in Zurich on 2 December.

Russia won the right to host the 2018 tournament.