The World Governing body for football, FIFA has called on all stakeholders to continue their work on LGBT+ rights in Russian sport.
“We thank all involved stakeholders in Russia who supported the creation a safe environment for the international LGBT+ community during the FIFA World Cup. In a few days, our tournament will be over. It will be important to use the positive experiences of the past weeks to continue the collaboration between the Football Union of Russia, the Russian LGBT Sport Federation and other stakeholders to promote diversity and fully inclusive football in Russia,” said FIFA’s head of Sustainability and Diversity Federico Addiechi.
Addiechi was speaking at the closing conference took place at the Goethe Institute in Moscow after one month of events organised by the Russian LGBT Sport Federation during the FIFA World Cup.
First openly gay referee in English football Ryan Atkin, the first transgender woman working as a staff member of a club at the English Premier League Sophie Cook. the first female member of the Canadian Soccer Hall of Fame Carrie Serwetnyk, Addiechi and Russian representatives from football and civil society were in attendance at the conference.
The overall aim of the conference was to exchange experiences and best practices on promoting LGBT+ rights and discuss next steps in Russian football.
“I’m very happy that the conference succeeded,” said Aleksandr Agapov, President of the Russian LGBT Sport Federation. “We had outstanding panellists to discuss acceptance of LGBT+ persons in fans subculture, the importance of coming outs and role models, and the difference openly LGBT+ professional footballers and referees can make. We certainly could not pass by a discussion of the World Cup legacy. We look forward to continuing to work together with FIFA and other stakeholders. It is our duty to make football truly inclusive for LGBT+ persons both in Russia and globally.”
FIFA this year had introduced a new protocol to handle incidents of discrimination. Personal involved in the anti-discrimination drive were given extensive training.
Earlier, FIFA had underlined the commitment to promote diversity and anti-discrimination in football during the opening ceremony of the new football festival that was organised by the Russian LGBT Sport Federation during the ongoing World Cup.
Founded in 2010 as a non-governmental and non-profit organisation, the Russian LGBT Sport Federation had used the World Cup as an opportunity to raise awareness about diversity, inclusivity and anti-discrimination issues by running the festival from 15 June to 15 July.