Cork senator calls for sporting boycott of countries hostile to LGBTQ+ rights

Cork senator calls for sporting boycott of countries hostile to LGBTQ+ rights

Fine Gael Senator Jerry Buttimer made the call in the Seanad following comments by Olympic gold medallist Tom Daley who said that countries criminalising LGBTQ+ people should not be hosting major sporting events. Photo:Gareth Chaney/Collins

A CORK Senator has called for a sporting boycott of countries with poor human rights records who are hostile to LGBTQ+ rights.

Fine Gael Senator Jerry Buttimer made the call in the Seanad following comments by Olympic gold medallist Tom Daley who said that countries criminalising LGBTQ+ people should not be hosting major sporting events.

“We must stop rewarding and elevating countries with poor records on human rights and countries where the LGBTQ+ community lives in fear.

“The selection of host countries for major sporting events such as a World Cup or Olympic Games is massively competitive and there are many factors at play in the decision-making process.

“Major sporting bodies such as the International Olympic Committee, the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF), FIFA, World Rugby, etc should conduct a comprehensive audit of the human rights record of the countries competing to host all future events.

“The treatment of LGBTQ+ communities in these countries should be closely examined to help form a full picture of whether a country is a worthy host or not, and whether their selection would send out a positive message to young people around the world,” he said.

World Cup

The 2022 FIFA World Cup is scheduled to take place from November 21 to December 18 2022 in Qatar - a country where homosexuality is illegal.

“It’s not right, in this day and age that we can’t enjoy watching a soccer World Cup from Russia or Qatar without a pang of guilt knowing the prejudice that exists there, and the legitimacy provided to such countries by the hosting of prestigious international sporting events.

“Role models in sport are hugely important and that is why I am supporting the call from Olympian Tom Daley who has said that countries criminalising LGBTQ+ people shouldn’t be hosting major sporting events,” Mr Buttimer said.

“Sport has led the way, over many years, in terms of positive messaging on human rights, be it in helping to bring down apartheid or highlighting the civil rights struggles in the US.

“Sport can and should lead the way again for every LGBTQ+ young person around the world, especially for those from countries where they are oppressed,” he continued.

Mr Buttimer is seeking a debate in the Seanad and with Government on the criteria used in the selection of host countries for major sporting events, such as the Olympics and FIFA World Cup.

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