London (AP) - A leading international gay rights group demanded an official apology from FIFA on Tuesday following Sepp Blatter's comment about homosexual fans traveling to
The president of the world soccer governing body said Monday that gay fans "should refrain from any sexual activities" during the World Cup in
Juris Lavrikovs, communications director for the European branch of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association, said the comments were "very unfortunate and have left people deeply offended."
"I think they should come out with a strong statement and not just wash it away," Lavrikovs told The Associated Press. "We are talking about a very basic human right that is being violated."
Blatter spoke in
"I'd say they (gay fans) should refrain from any sexual activities," he said, smiling.
"This is not a joke, this is a matter of life and death to people," Lavrikovs said. "
"It's disappointing to see that an organization that is promoting the game, which in its statutes condemns discrimination of any kind, is coming out with comments like this."
Concerns have been raised that a country hosting a major tournament has stringent laws that are seen by many to violate basic human rights.
"Sepp Blatter jokes about the risk to gay visitors in 2022, but
John Amaechi also condemned Blatter's remarks. The former NBA player from
Amaechi also demanded an apology from FIFA and urged other associations to distance themselves from Blatter's comments.
"Anything less than a full reversal of his position is unacceptable," he said.