MOSCOW – FIFA's anti-discrimination advisers are warning gay soccer fans going to the 2018 World Cup in Russia that displays of affection could be met with an aggressive response from intolerant locals.
Homosexuality was decriminalized in Russia in 1993, but anti-gay sentiment remains strong and intensified after a law was introduced in 2013 prohibiting dissemination to minors of "propaganda" legitimizing homosexuality.
As fans prepare their trips after Friday's World Cup draw, the FARE network said it will produce a guide spelling out the threats to be prepared for in Russia.
FARE, which monitors FIFA fixtures for discriminatory behavior, said it is unclear whether fans will be allowed to display rainbow flags inside stadiums.
FARE has also has long-standing concerns about the reception black and ethnic minority fans will face in Russia.