Saturday 16 June 2018, 20:49

FIFA underlines support for diversity and inclusivity at LGBTI event

  • Opening ceremony of "Football For All" takes place in Moscow

  • FIFA Head of Sustainability and Diversity attends and speaks at event

  • Festival runs from 15 June to 15 July

FIFA has underlined its commitment to promoting diversity and anti-discrimination in football during the opening ceremony of a new football festival which is being organised by the Russian LGBT Sport Federation during the 2018 FIFA World Cup™.

With a number of officials in attendance, and the LGBTI community well represented, the event was held at the recently opened Diversity House in Moscow on Friday 15 June and marked the beginning of the Football Festival "Football для всех" ("Football For All").

FIFA's Head of Sustainability and Diversity Federico Addiechi spoke at the opening ceremony, highlighting several steps and measures that FIFA is taking to support the LGBTI community and promote diversity during Russia 2018.

“Football is for all and the FIFA World Cup provides an important opportunity to show how football can provide a platform to bring people together, promote diversity and inclusivity and to support and further anti-discrimination efforts and initiatives," said Addiechi.

"Discrimination has no place in football and at FIFA, we are fully committed to ensuring that the 2018 FIFA World Cup is inclusive and accessible for everyone. This is underlined by the range of diversity and anti-discrimination measures and initiatives that FIFA has introduced, as well as how FIFA is working with several organisations to take action against any discriminatory incidents that may occur during the event.”

In particular, FIFA has introduced a new complaints mechanism for human rights defenders and media representatives. Any complaint submitted through the platform will be addressed in accordance with the commitments set out in the FIFA Statement on human rights defenders and media representatives.

Furthermore, members of the LGBTI community can contact dedicated hotlines set up by a range of organisations from civil society that FIFA is working with. Members of the public may also submit a report to the hotline of the organisation “Coming Out” and the Whatsapp hotline operated by the Fare Network (+ 7 916 948 11 08).

Aleksandr Agapov, President of the Russian LGBT Sport Federation which is organising the Football Festival, also spoke at the event and added:

“This new Football Festival "Football для всех" will provide members of the LGBTI community in Russia with a safe and welcoming space to play and enjoy football and will hopefully begin a new era of acceptance and diversity in Russia. On behalf of the Russian LGBT Sport Federation, we would like to thank FIFA for their support of the project, as well as their efforts to further diversity and inclusion at the 2018 FIFA World Cup.”

Founded in 2010 as a non-governmental and non-profit organisation, the Russian LGBT Sport Federation is using the opportunity of the World Cup to raise awareness about diversity, inclusivity and anti-discrimination issues by running the festival from 15 June to 15 July.

His Excellency Dr Laurie Bristow, British Ambassador to the Russian Federation, also spoke at the event and added that the "transformative power of football can create an environment where everyone, regardless of their ethnicity, sexuality or disability can be themselves and enjoy the great game."

A full overview of FIFA’s activities in the area of anti-discrimination and diversity can be found here.

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