By Michelle Garcia
Originally published on Advocate.com September 11 2013 5:47 PM ET
FIFA, the international organization behind World Cup soccer, will likely ask Qatar, the host of the 2022 championship tournament, to relax some of the country's antigay statutes.
Russia and Qatar will host the World Cup in 2018 and 2022, respectively, and each country has strict antigay laws. However, FIFA's antidiscrimination task force will convene next week with the league's leaders with recommendations on how to proceed with Qatar's plan to host the tournament.
Piara Powar, a member of FIFA's task force as well as the director of Football Against Racism in Europe, added that players of all races, religions, and sexual identities must feel safe coming to play in both Russia and Qatar.
"Qatar is one of the few countries where homosexuality is still illegal and there are also big challenges in terms of the new law in Russia in regard to the World Cup," Powar said, according to The Guardian. "Qatar wants to host the tournament at the start of a new decade, they will want to present an internationally welcoming face and with FIFA's help, we are sure it will be possible to win over the Qataris so that they come into line with the rest of the world, including other countries in the Gulf and Middle East and change the law on homosexuality."