Will FIFA take a stronger stance on LGBT+ rights in Russia before the World Cup?

World Cup 2018 will kick off on June 14th – which means soon FIFA will need to decide whether to follow its newly adopted human rights policy, given tournament host Russia’s discriminatory policies toward LGBT+ people.

Russia’s law against “gay propaganda,” adopted months before the 2014 Sochi Olympics, penalizes LGBT+ advocacy and creates a dangerous stigma around LGBT+ people.

LGBT+ people are often subject to violence in Russia; read Out Leadership’s CEO Business Brief for Russia.

Human Rights Watch’s Minky Worden writes in the New York Times that “FIFA needs to make clear now that it expects Russia to abide by its rules during the tournament. Establishing human rights policies was a vital first step for FIFA. The hard part is implementing them, especially with repressive prospective hosts who intend to ‘sportswash’ their international images.”

“Hosting the World Cup entails trading away some sovereignty,” Worden continues. “FIFA has demanded and been given changes to domestic laws ahead of past World Cups. South Africa set up dozens of “instant courts,” chiefly to prosecute petty crimes related to the tournament, and Brazil overturned legislation that banned beer in stadiums. This kind of pressure should be used to further basic human rights.”

Read more at The New York Times