FIFA president Sepp Blatter has moved to quell growing concern among gay football fans over the decision to award the 2022 FIFA World Cup to Qatar.
Homosexuality remains illegal in the country, with fears the tournament will therefore not be open to gay fans.
Pictured: Blatter hopes handing the World Cup to Qatar will spread football around the globe
Following the decision the Gay Football Supporter’s Network said: “We strongly condemn FIFA’s decision and will be leading a LGBT [Lesbian, Bisexual, Gay and Transgender] boycott of all activities associated with World Cup 2022.
“We do not feel the World Cup should be held in any country that abuses and disregards the basic human rights of LGBT people.”
However, Blatter has attempted to quash the concerns.
“I’m sure when the World Cup will be in Qatar there will be no problems,” he told journalists.
He jokingly added: “I would say they should refrain from any sexual activities.”
Qatar will build a number of new stadiums ahead of the tournament
Qatar beat Australia, Japan, South Korea and the United States in a vote to decide who would hold the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Zurich on December 2nd.
The surprise decision has, however, not been without critics.
Concerns have been raised about hosting the tournament during the summer months in a country where temperatures can reach 50C, while current laws mean drinking alcohol in public is forbidden.
But Blatter does not foresee 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.”