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Mid-Day Ticker: Blatter condemned, TP Mazembe reaches final and more



FIFA president Sepp Blatter has come under fire recently, most notably for the decisions to award the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar, respectively. The latest incident involving Blatter won't help his image either.

Blatter had some off-color remarks about homosexuality and Qatar, and an international gay rights group has condemned his comments and demanded an apology.

At an event in South Africa, Blatter was asked about any potential cultural issues during the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, where homosexuality is illegal. According to the Associated Press, Blatter smiled and responded, "I'd say (gay fans) should refrain from any sexual activities."

The communications director of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association responded by saying, "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."

Here are a few more stories from around the soccer world:


African champion TP Mazembe Englebert continued its surprising run at the FIFA Club World Cup, defeating Brazilian side Internacional, 2-0, in a semifinal on Tuesday.

Mulota Kabangu and Dioko Kaluyituka scored for Mazembe, which awaits the winner of Wednesday's semifinal matchup between Inter Milan and Seongnam Ilhwa.

With the victory, Mazembe became the first African team (and first non-European or South American team) to reach the final of the Club World Cup.


Though he is not technically on trial with Stoke City, Sporting Kansas City striker Teal Bunbury is making the most of his training stint with the Premier League side, scoring in a reserve match against Wigan Athletic on Tuesday.

According to the team's Web site, Bunbury linked up with Eidur Gudjohnsen and put Stoke ahead but also had two shots saved and one go wide in the 3-1 loss.


The United States Soccer Federation revealed the first four of its "Best Of 2010" winners, and the initial wave is entirely tied to the national team's victory over Algeria in the World Cup.

"Best South Africa Moment" and "Best Photo" both were awarded to the dog pile on Landon Donovan after his game-winning goal in stoppage time. That goal received "Best Goal" and the victory that cemented the team's place atop Group C received "Best Performance: Team" honors.

More winners will be announced Wednesday and Thursday, and the Athlete of the Year winners will be revealed on Monday.


Fox Sports Media Group has renewed its contract to hold the exclusive rights for the UEFA Champions League, extending its current deal by three years.

The new deal will run through the 2014-2015 season.


What do you think of Blatter's remarks? Rooting for Mazembe to capture the Club World Cup? What do you make of Bunbury's stint with Stoke? Happy that Fox will continue to broadcast the Champions League?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. I understand what you’re saying. My main problem with Sepp and FIFA is that the World Cup should never been awarded to a country like Qatar with these various human rights issues. By merely hosting it there, Sepp and FIFA are basically ignoring these problems and saying “Hey no big deal. We don’t care” that your culture, country and laws are stuck in ancient times.

    Sepp’s comment just added more fuel to the fire. How should he have responded? I don’t know. It’s kinda hard for him to give some kind of guarantee to football fans when he doesn’t run Qatar and doesn’t control their laws, but he could have said something along the lines of “All football fans or all travelers to the World Cup in Qatar should respect the laws of Qatar”. No reason for him to single out gays.

    Also, I may disagree with what Blatter said and how he said it, but sadly it is the truth. If you are a gay football fan, I’d say it probably isn’t a good idea for you to travel to Qatar or anywhere in the Middle East for that matter. And that if you do go, limit your sexual activity or any displays of affection or love (kissing, hugging, holding hands, anything really) for your partner to the inside of your hotel room.

    Hell I’d also probably say the same think to straight couples too. I don’t think it would be a good idea to kiss your girlfriend or your wife in public. Also watch how much you drink and your level of drunkenness. Don’t get in any arguments or heated discussion, especially with locals or other people from the Middle East region. And definitely stay away from their women. Just because I’m sure there’s some kind of trouble you can get in for talking to them.

  2. Leo,

    I’ll break it down for you.

    I get it. I would be annoyed. But It’s no different than NOT sleeping with my fiance in her father’s house. His house, his rules.

    I want to.
    She wants to.


    I don’t like it. I don’t have to like it. But BITCHIN’ and MOANIN’ about my displeasure isn’t going to change his mind about the rules of his house. Methinks that it’s not going to change the Quataris minds either.

    Do you get it?

  3. Yo B,

    I am not exactly sure how people want Sepp to respond. It’s not like he wrote an Op. Ed piece in the Al Jazeera sports paper telling gays they are unwanted or they have to adapt to the culture. This is some dude with a mic and a question. What did you expect him to say?

    On another note do you disagree that when you step into someone-else’s culture you have to play by there rules?


  4. What’s next? Designated scissoring zones? ATM zones? BDSM zones? If these zones start overlapping I might decide to go to this WC after all.

  5. … I never addressed civil activism or trying to change the law like in your circumstantially relevant examples. (Insert applicable statement supporting civil rights activism and America here)

    That said, I wouldn’t really recommend taking civil activism into your own hands (or orifices) while in a foreign country as a visitor or for short-term employment. It’s actually the first thing that people whose jobs are to know what not to do tell you not to do.

    The issue is not what America or FIFA or The UN or the League of Nations or the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen should do. That’s an entirely different topic.

    The point is that there are many better targets for anger and vitriol than Blatter telling visitors to obey the laws in the countries they visit. THAT was what the original post was about, that was what I addressed.

    Feel free to slippery-slope it from there.

  6. Morocco, Egypt, Algeria, SA, Jordan (sometimes), Syria, Lebanon’s not as bad, I’ve never been to the UAE, Iran, or Qatar, so I can’t really comment on those. You can find places in all those countries where you may be able to get a room for an unmarried couple, especially through online booking or just an especially western hotel, like many of the more expensive ones where they serve alcohol and have night clubs.

    And yes, Morocco is one of the more civilly liberal places on that list. True, it is difficult to get an exit visa, but the people there currently enjoy quite a lot of western-style freedoms as far as labor and womens’ rights

  7. The actual words (as in the literal words that make up his statement) of what he sad are not offensive or condemnable in it of themselves, but what is offensive and condemnable is the manner in which he said it, the context of the statement, and his general attitude toward gays.

    Basically the man (with the help of his ExCo lackies) awarded a World Cup to a country with a history (and still current problems) of human rights issues regarding treatment of women, gays, and minorities (non-Arabs/Muslims), and when asked a legitimate question about potential cultural issues issues that could arise by having a World Cup hosted in a backward-a$$ country that practices and enforces medieval Islamic law, he answers in a jokingly, non-serious tone (watch the video) of “Hey gays probably should refrain from having sex”, as if it’s totally ok that a country treats homosexuals that way or like it’s No Big Effing’ Deal to tell gay football fans to not have sex.

  8. No not at all. I was just merely saying I’m glad I live in the USA (if I lived in Europe, I’d say the same), rather than Qatar or some other Middle Eastern country.

  9. I do feel strongly about it and I just really hate Blatter. :). As for your implication that I’m shutting down “the marketplace of ideas”, aren’t I simply arguing? I’m not a moderator, I’m censoring no one’s posts. I’m not name calling. Personally, I welcome disagreement if my arguments are addressed with reason. I respect people’s arguments enough to point out their flaws with reason instead of snark (hint, hint).

    “As for me, I agree with those saying it is QATAR and their CRIMINALIZATION of homosexuality that needs to be condemned by gay rights activists, not some comment from a rich old fool.”

    But who ever said those who were condemning Blatter aren’t condemning Qatar’s laws as well? The post was in regard to something Blatter said, of course people are mostly going to focus on him. This is a soccer blog so FIFA politics are at least tangentially related, while Middle Eastern statutorily law…not so much.

  10. Colin doesn’t seem to understand that the WC is the essential global event and how the awarding of the WC to a nation with oppressive laws counter to Blatter’s own stated ideology of what the WC represents (tolerance, openness) is a prime example of FIFA’s corruption. Pointing out FIFA’s (and Blatter’s) hypocrisy in this instance is just another way of bashing them for their poor choice of host.

    And as you point out, his foolish notion that the President of FIFA should support the laws of the host nation no matter how ridiculous they might be reeks of relativism.

  11. Thank you, Justin O and Brock — props for injecting some thoughtfulness and bringing the conversation back down to earth. I have lived in Dubai for the past three years and have visited Qatar (which is basically mini-Dubai) several times. The hysterical tone of many of the posts on here is just a tad beyond ridiculous.

    Fact: Qatar is a conservative Muslim country. To many people, that alone is reason enough to hate them and seize any opportunity vent that hatred, or at least disqualify them from being able to host a World Cup. And such behavior can only be called, at best, intolerant (and therefore hypocritical). At worst, well, I won’t go there.

    Fact: Qatar is not a democracy (it is, however, a generally tolerant benevolent autocracy); but if it were, the Qatari population would certainly vote for homosexual acts to be illegal. It’s called self-determination. Don’t like it? Leave. It’s not like Cuba or North Korea — you can actually leave if you want to.

    Ah, you say, but what about minority rights? Well, is freedom to perform homosexual acts a “human right”? It’s fashionable to say it is, but I doubt it — there’s nothing in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights about it, and it’s not like you can’t get a job or make a living if you’re gay in Qatar, and there aren’t mobs going around lynching gays like you sometimes hear about in Africa; you just can’t perform sexual acts. Guess what — adultery is also illegal. Why isn’t anyone hopping mad about that? Don’t consenting adults have a “human right” to perform sexual acts with whomever they wish?

    None of this changes the fact that Blatter and FIFA are idiots. So go ahead, heap criticism on them. But attacking Qatar for winning basically in spite of themselves, assuming no bribes were involved, is a bit lame.

    Those that think Qatar shouldn’t have gotten the World Cup because of they are a conservative country (and let’s face it, that’s basically what’s being said, whether the issue is sexuality, alcohol, whatever) should look at the bright side. This World Cup is going to shine a huge klieg light on the whole Gulf region and, I predict, have a major liberalizing influence. The Al-Thanis are already one of the most liberal, modernizing, and open-minded royal families in the region; they’re going to drag their conservative population into the 21st century kicking and screaming if they have to, and this World Cup gives them the perfect excuse.

    A lot is going to change in that little corner of the world over the next 12 years because of this World Cup, all for the better, wait and see. And it won’t be because a bunch of ignorant lunatics on SoccerByIves were howling for it.

  12. He’s not advocating following the law. He’s implying that the concerns aren’t legitimate because either gays will be allowed to do as they wish (unlikely), or because he doesn’t care. That’s why the distinction b/t a joke and an assertion is important here.

    As for obeying the law… since the bid process Qatar ( and FIFA officials once Qatar got the bid) have been trying to reassure the rest of the world that their strict standards will be loosened so that the 2022 WC experience is closer to a typical Western experience. As the head of FIFA its not crazy for Blatter to advocate for a loosening of a country’s laws if they are not in accord with most of the rest of the world. Qatar already does this to an extent with alcohol (bars only for ex-pats) and plans to do this for the World Cup (designated “zones” where WC guests can drink).

  13. Wrong. He was making a joke. Some don’t seem to realize that his indifference to Qatar’s crappy human rights record is related to the corruption in the bid process.

  14. Josh – I’ve been to Qatar and all over the region and Brock is right. I don’t doubt that people have backed up the negative points, but in most cases they are wrong. Quite possibly they are just lying.

    There are plenty of negative aspects to Qatar’s human rigths record, especially with regards to homosexuality. You also need to keep in mind that much of the world, including too much of the USA, has lots of anti-Muslim bigots who somehow feel licensed by the announcement of Qatar 2022 to vent their hatred. More than a little inaccurate information, directly or indirectly, comes from that.

  15. Colin Ferguson – “Most Islamic countries”? Really? Do you know how many countries than encompasses? I guess not, if you think Morocco is one of the more liberal places.

  16. Maybe I should have said: Anyone else here in Doha, because I’m in Doha right now – and I can attest that these “negative” points are in fact non-events and just uninformed fodder.

  17. “eply to David…

    I don’t understand the outrage. “Off-color remarks?” I would agree with Blatter’s recommendation out of fear for those traveling. The facts are the facts. Last time I was in the middle east during Ramadan, it was made very clear that if I was seen eating gum or drinking water in public during the day, I would be arrested and imprisoned. It’s no joke and any homosexuals expecting to be welcomed with open arms are in for a surprise. Maybe some of these activist groups will finally see how good we all have it right here at home. Why do people condemn Blatter’s comment and not condemn the atrocious civil rights records in these countrys?”

    Liberals tend not to truly care about human rights unless it fits their agenda at the time. It’s all about image and power over your decision and actions when it comes to these matters. Liberals are an angry bunch who always find fault in the world. They are a miserable bunch of people generally.

  18. Several people have commented on this site who have lived in Qatar and they have backed up all the negative points, including those you highlighted.

  19. Yeah, women that feel strongly about the rights of humans to do with their bodies as they please should really be quiet! Or at least not speak so loudly, lest anyone think they’re intelligent!

    Ladies, please stop having an opinion on anything related to football!

  20. Since we obviously have to break it down for you…

    If Qatar was a homosexual nation that FIFA had awarded the World Cup to and, when questioned about discriminatory heterosexual rights in the nation, Sepp Blatter had responded that all straight people should refrain from all sexual activity, would that annoy you as a straight, heterosexual man? Someone attempting to dictate to you what you should or should not do with your own body?

    You are a classic case of “not getting it”.

  21. Yes, “OBEY THE LAW”.

    American Colonists faced with oppressive taxes should have just followed your maxim “OBEY THE LAW”.

    Women who were arrested and kept without food should have known enough to “OBEY THE LAW”.

    Black people in Jim Crow’s South, please, “OBEY THE LAW”.

    Just because you type something in CAPS doesn’t make you 1) intelligent or 2) correct. Sometimes laws are not just, and it’s okay for people to speak out against it instead of bleating like a sheep.

    You know what? Perhaps we can’t change the perceptions of the government of Qatar. But there has been a history of even the American government and sports committees taking a stand against regimes that it felt did not meet certain standards with regards to human rights and economic fairness. See the 1980 Summer Olympics.

    So take your dismissive, misguided comments with you to Qatar in 2022. While you’re there, don’t have any alcohol!



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