After all the controversy behind the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bids, FIFA President Sepp Blatter did not help matters when he made a joke about homosexual activity in Qatar.
The Swiss has now apologised for saying gays fans should “refrain from sexual activity.”
Homosexuality is illegal in Qatar and the comments made enraged gay rights groups, who were calling for Blatter to be sacked or for him to step down from his position.
Blatter said: “It was not my intention and never will be my intention to go into any discrimination.
“If somebody feels hurt, then I regret [it] and present apologies.”
FIFA have come under some criticism for decided to have a World Cup in the Middle East for the first time.
In the summertime in Qatar, temperatures can reach up to 50C, which are not ideal playing conditions.
Drinking alcohol in public is banned under current laws, which cause some trouble with visiting fans flying from different countries.
Gay groups are also worried that any gay fans going to Qatar will not be accepted or even worse will be ridiculed.
The Gay Football Supporters Network (GFSN) say that Blatter’s comments showed naivety about gay discrimination and may have put a focus on gay fans at the World Cup.
The FIFA President, however, does not think there will be any difficulties: “You see in the Middle East the opening of this culture, it’s another culture because it’s another religion, but in football we have no boundaries.
“We open everything to everybody and I think there shall not be any discrimination against any human beings be it on this side or that side, be it left, right or whatever.
“If they want to watch a match somewhere in Qatar 2022, I’m sure they will be admitted to such matches.”
By freelance writer Dan Leaton.
Tags: Sepp Blatter