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Gay gaffe

December 17, 2010

It's not the first time that FIFA president Sepp Blatter has slipped up. He's apologized for his recent comments that gay fans shouldn't fornicate at the Qatar World Cup.

Sepp Blatter
Blatter regrets hurting anyone with his commentsImage: picture alliance/Photoshot

FIFA president Sepp Blatter has apologized for saying that gay fans should "refrain from sexual activity" if they go to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

Homosexuality is illegal in Qatar and Blatter's original comments provoked anger among gay rights groups.

"I regret my comment, I didn't want to hurt anyone. We are against discrimination. I apologize for that comment," Blatter told a press conference ahead of Saturday's Club World Cup.

"It was not my intention and it will never be my intention to go into any discrimination because this is exactly what we (FIFA) are against, so therefore if somebody feels they have been hurt, then I regret and I present apologies for that," he added.

Gay rights activists have reacted furiously after the comments and called for the head of the world soccer governing body to either apologize or resign after his comments this week.

Former NBA basketball star John Amaechi -- who revealed he was gay in 2007 -- led the attack, accusing the FIFA president of "epic, archaic, neanderthal, ignorance."

A reputation for gaffes

"With little more than an afterthought FIFA has endorsed the marginalization of LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender] people around the world," he wrote on his blog.

"Anything less than a full reversal of his position is unacceptable," Amaechi added.

Blatter's remarks are just the latest example of the 74-year-old football chief putting his foot in his mouth.

He told women footballers in 2004 that the best way to make their sport more popular would be to wear "tighter shorts."

Earlier this year, he suggested that John Terry's alleged affair, which led to him being stripped of the England captaincy, would have been applauded in Latin countries.

Qatar was awarded the World Cup this month ahead of Australia, the United States, Japan and South Korea.

Author: Natalia Dannenberg (AP, Reuters, AFP)
Editor: Rob Turner