February 13 – FIFA is facing calls from human rights organisations to scrap Chechnya as a World Cup base for Egypt this summer.
After the Egyptians selected the Chechen capital Grozny from a list of 67 options, the decision immediately came under fire because of widely reported alleged persecution of gays by the region’s strongman Ramzan Kadyrov.
“FIFA’s decision to use Grozny for a World Cup team camp is absolutely shocking and outrageous,” Human Rights Watch associate director Jane Buchanan told The Associated Press. “FIFA should reverse their decision and move the training camp to another city.”
The AP reported Buchanan as saying Kadyrov runs Chechnya “like his own fiefdom and commits human rights abuses with impunity.”
“FIFA’s decision will only legitimize the utterly abusive Kadyrov regime,” she added. “It’s a complete disgrace that FIFA wants to be associated with Kadyrov.”
FARE, football’s Europe-wide anti-discrimination group, also said Chechnya should not be involved even though no actual matches are being staged in the region.
But FIFA says it has no immediate human rights concerns and defended the decision to include Grozny in its list of authorized bases.
“We currently have no grounds to believe that the choice of the Egyptian FA to locate its base camp in Grozny will cause particular adverse human rights impacts,” FIFA said in a statement. “That said, FIFA will take appropriate measures in accordance with its human rights policy should this assessment change in the coming months.”
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