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Whatsapp hotline for LGBT+ World Cup attendees created in response to worrying report findings

Jasmine Andersson June 7, 2018
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A photograph taken on May 30, 2018 shows the FIFA World Cup 2018 flag in front of the Kremlin in Moscow. - The FIFA World Cup 2018 tournament kicks off on June 14, 2018. (Photo by Mladen ANTONOV / AFP) (Photo credit should read MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP/Getty Images)

The FIFA World Cup is in Russia for the first time (MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP/Getty)

A Diversity House and Whatsapp safety line has been established after homophobic chants were recorded at a record high by Russian crowds by an anti-discrimination organisation.

After Fare found that twelve homophobic chants took place targeting the LGBT+ community in Russian football over a three month period, the charity stepped in to offer sanctuary to queer fans who are attending this year’s tournament.

The executive director of the initiative said that Russia and FIFA have “missed valuable opportunities” to tackle the rampant homophobia present in Russia today, and has launched an advice guide for fans travelling to Russia for the matches.

 

A close-up view shows the official match ball for the 2018 World Cup football tournament (MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP/Getty )

“There are reasons to hope that the World Cup authorities will not allow serious violent incidents to take place by using all the resources of law enforcement agencies and special services,” said the Executive Director of the Fare network, Piara Powar.

“However, the football authorities in Russia and FIFA have missed valuable opportunities and time to deliver lasting change in Russia.”

While fans have received death threats over email and Russian Militia have insisted that they will patrol the World Cup, fans have been “strongly advised” to not display their sexuality in public.

 

A general view of the Luzhniki stadium on August 29, 2017 in Moscow, Russia. (Lars Baron/Getty)

Fans can wear rainbow badges on their clothing, but could face fines up to £1200 for waving a rainbow flag in public.

Gay, lesbian and bi fans who travel with a romantic other could be arrested by the police if they are seen being affectionate towards each other in public.

Fans are urged to call a WhatsApp hotline is being set up to help support visiting minorities in Russia with issues of discrimination to report or who require other urgent help. The line will be active from the start of the World Cup on + 7 916 948 11 08.

“People do the weirdest stuff to gay people in Russia now,” a Russian source, who is a lesbian, told PinkNews.

“Cossack militias will certainly attack gay fans.”

The militias in question said that they will patrol games to stop gay men kissing.

Oleg Barannikov, a coordinator of Cossack volunteer guards said: “If two men kiss at the World Cup we will ask the police to pay attention to them, and what happens next is up to the police.

 

MOSCOW, RUSSIA - JUNE 9: Russian soccer fans shout in front of the Kremlin as they watch the Russian soccer team lose to Japan in a televised 2002 World Cup match in Moscow, Russia. The fans rioted after learning that Russia lost to Japan 1-0 during 2002 Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) World Cup H match play at International Stadium in Yokohama, Japan. Cars near the Kremlin were set on fire and destroyed. At least one person was killed during the rampage. (Photo by Oleg Nikishin/Getty Images)
Russian fans outside of the Kremlin. One person was killed during the rampage (Oleg Nikishin/Getty)

“For us values above all mean Orthodox Christianity and family.

“We Cossacks have gone through too much for those values to be just thrown away.”

Related topics: Europe, LGBT rights Russia, LGBT+ world cup guide 2018, Russia, Russia, Russian World Cup, world cup, world cup 2018

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