A guide to the World Cup issued by European football’s anti-discrimination group will warn gay fans to be cautious.
Russia has laws banning “gay propaganda” and the organisation against Homophobia in Football, Fare Network, has asked Fifa if fans will be permitted to fly rainbow flags at World Cup games. Fare will have monitors at every match to report incidents of discrimination to Fifa.
The group says it is crucial that the governing body brings in a specific offence of homophobic abuse by fans. The guide will also provide advice for black fans and those of colour.
The same message is there for black and ethnic minority fans — to go to the World Cup, but be cautious.
“If you have gay fans walking down the street holding hands, will they face danger? That depends on which city they are in and the time of day.
“In Russia, it is not a crime to be gay, but there is a law against the promotion of homosexuality to minors. Gay people have a place in Russia which is quite hidden and underground.
“There is no offence of homophobia in Fifa’s rules, and we have made it clear that there should be.”
A Fifa spokesman said: “Fifa has a zero-tolerance approach to discrimination and we have mechanisms to ensure that the atmosphere in the stadiums is one of celebration and respect.”
Minky Worden, director of global initiatives at Human Rights Watch, said there was “a profound problem with homophobia in Russia”, adding: “Fans cannot feel safe in a country that has bad laws and policies that discriminate against you.”
This guidance comes on the back of a report that states that hate crime in Russia have doubled after the introduction of the ‘gay propaganda’ bill as well as figures being suppressed and under-reported.