LGBT group demands apology from FIFA

President of soccer’s governing body said gays attending World Cup in Qatar in 2022 should refrain from sex

STEVE DOUGLAS  |  AP Sports Writer

LONDON — A leading international gay rights group demanded an official apology from FIFA on Tuesday, Dec. 14 following Sepp Blatter’s comment about homosexual fans traveling to Qatar for the 2022 World Cup.

The president of the world soccer governing body said Monday that gay fans “should refrain from any sexual activities” during the World Cup in Qatar, where homosexual behavior is illegal.

Juris Lavrikovs, communications director for the European branch of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association, said the comments were “very unfortunate and have left people deeply offended.”

“I think they should come out with a strong statement and not just wash it away,” Lavrikovs told The Associated Press. “We are talking about a very basic human right that is being violated.”

Blatter spoke in South Africa on Monday at the launch of a post-2010 World Cup legacy project. He was asked if he could foresee any cultural problems with the tournament being held in Qatar.

“I’d say they (gay fans) should refrain from any sexual activities,” he said, smiling.

“This is not a joke, this is a matter of life and death to people,” Lavrikovs said. “Qatar and more than 70 other countries in the world still criminalize individuals for homosexual relationships, and some countries even punish them by death sentence.

“It’s disappointing to see that an organization that is promoting the game, which in its statutes condemns discrimination of any kind, is coming out with comments like this.”

Qatar beat the United States, Australia, Japan and South Korea in the FIFA vote on Dec. 2 to host the 2022 World Cup.

Concerns have been raised that a country hosting a major tournament has stringent laws that are seen by many to violate basic human rights.

“Sepp Blatter jokes about the risk to gay visitors in 2022, but Qatar’s anti-gay policies are no laughing matter,” British human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell said.

John Amaechi also condemned Blatter’s remarks. The former NBA player from Britain who revealed he was gay in 2007 said on his website that “FIFA has endorsed the marginalization of LGBT people around the world.”

Amaechi also demanded an apology from FIFA and urged other associations to distance themselves from Blatter’s comments.

“Anything less than a full reversal of his position is unacceptable,” he said.

Herman Ouseley, chairman of Kick It Out, a British campaign group for equality and inclusion in soccer, said he expected better from someone in Blatter’s position.

“It was all frivolity and laughter but it’s a serious business — people’s existence he has ridiculed,” Ouseley told the AP at the launch of his group’s annual review at the British Parliament.

“We can’t have that from the top of the world governing body — you’ve got to show leadership because you’ve got to influence the standards of behavior required and then you’ve got to enforce it when there’s a failure.”

—  John Wright

DPD says Club Dallas complaint came from ‘citizen,’ no arrests made in private rooms

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition October 15, 2010.
Laura Martin

Laura Martin, the Dallas Police Department’s liaison officer to the gay community, just forwarded a statement from DPD’s vice unit that provides additional information about a controversial Oct. 8 raid of The Club Dallas that resulted in 11 arrests. The statement from the vice unit apparently seeks to dispel some of the conspiracy theories that have arisen about the raid of the gay bathhouse in Deep Ellum, including that it was designed to shut down the business to make way for redevelopment around a DART rail station, and that it was orchestrated for political purposes less than a month before an election.

The statement from DPD’s vice unit says the department received a complaint from “a citizen” related to The Club Dallas on Oct. 5, three days before the raid. “The citizen stated that the management was renting out rooms for the viewing of adult movies and use as motel rooms,” according to the statement. “The rooms were allegedly being used for sexual activities.” Martin has said that when the vice unit receives a complaint, they are bound to respond in the same way that patrol officers must respond to 911 calls.

The statement doesn’t specifically say whether the citizen was a Club Dallas member, and Martin declined to confirm this. However, given the details in the complaint about what was going on inside the club, a reasonable person might conclude that it came from a member.

Also of note in the statement, the vice unit points out that none of the arrests were made in private rooms at The Club Dallas. In other words, even though the complaint related to the use of those rooms, undercover officers who bought day memberships to the club didn’t have to take their investigation that far: “Officers observed a large number of individuals engaging in sexual activity. These acts were occurring in the public areas of the spa, which include the pool area, hallway, and other common areas.”

Dallas Voice has filed a Freedom of Information request for all records related to the raid. Among other things, the Police Department has only released reports related to three of the 11 people who were arrested.

Anyhow, here’s the full statement from DPD’s vice unit, which came across late Wednesday morning:

On October 5, 2010, the Vice Unit received a complaint from a citizen regarding an alleged sexually oriented business violation at 2616 Swiss Avenue. The citizen stated that the management was renting out rooms for the viewing of adult movies and use as motel rooms. The rooms were allegedly being used for sexual activities.

On October 8, 2010, undercover officers entered the location to investigate the allegations articulated in the citizen complaint. Officers purchased a day membership and entered the location. Officers observed a large number of individuals engaging in sexual activity. These acts were occurring in the public areas of the spa, which include the pool area, hallway, and other common areas.

Ten arrests were made for the Texas Penal Code violations of Public Lewdness and Indecent Exposure. These acts were occurring in a public place. Arrests were not made for the acts taking place in the private rooms. One arrest was made for Interference with Public Duties, Peace Officer, when the manager refused admittance to uniformed police officers responding to assist the undercover officers.

As a result of the investigation it was determined the allegations made in the citizen’s complaint were accurate. There has been no vice investigative activity or complaints received at this location in several years.

The Dallas Police Department is charged with the duty of investigating, enforcing, and responding to citizen complaints regarding sexually oriented businesses throughout the city. The Vice Unit is committed to being responsive to community concerns and thus, conducts its investigations in an equitable and just manner.

—  John Wright