Outraged Gay Community in Belgrade Demand FIFA Action Over Hate Graffiti

Football fans’ graffiti calls for murder of gays



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One of the hundreds of examples of the homophobic graffiti in Belgrade.  Smrt pederima South Gate” -  or Death to faggots South Gate”.  South Gate is the name of a group of football ‘fans’ connected with the Red Star club. photo courtesy GayEcho Website, Belgrade.

BELGRADE, August 10, 2009    The failure of the Football Association of Serbia and two clubs in Belgrade to distance themselves from homophobic messages and calls to murder gay persons which appear in graffiti across the city, bearing the ‘signature’ of fans from the Partizan and Red Star Belgrade has so outraged gays that they have written to the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), the world governing body for football, demanding action.

Many buildings in the city bear the graffiti with homophobic messages, including calls for the murder of gays.

Most are ‘signed’ by Red Star Belgrade and Partizan fan groups, the GayEcho website claims.

Two weeks ago, the Gay and Lesbian Info Center in Belgrade and other non-governmental organisations requested the Football Association of Serbia and the management of the two clubs to publicly distance themselves from these messages and to condemn the calls to murder of gay persons.

But the plea has fallen on deaf ears.  So a letter has been sent to FIFA headquarters in Zurich.

“Please, help us in the struggle against homophobia and violence against the LGBT population in Serbia,” the letter pleads.

The hate messages come ahead of the Belgrade Gay Pride parade, which is scheduled for September 20.

“It’s scary to walk through Belgrade because you will see [the graffiti] on every corner,” Predrag Azdejkovic, the editor-in-chief of the GayEcho Website, told UK Gay News this morning.

“Belgrade’s major Dragan Djilas said that he is against the Pride Parade and that he doesn’t see why  anyone should parade his or her sexual orientation and show it publicly.  He said that he is against violence.

“Importantly, he is worried because this graffiti is sending a bad message about Belgrade – and makes the city look ugly.

“But nobody is cleaning this graffiti’s from Belgrade’s walls,” he pointed out.

A FIFA spokesperson told UK Gay News this afternoon that “we cannot speculate on a case where we do not have all the relevant documents and details”.

However, FIFA did say that the organisation did take a robust stance against all types of discrimination.

FIFA’s published policy on ‘Non-discriminations and stance against racism’ states: Discrimination of any kind against a country, private person or group of people on account of ethnic origin, gender, language, religion, politics or any other reason is strictly prohibited and punishable by suspension or expulsion. [Article 3 of FIFA Statutes]

“FIFA through its committees and are actively committed to fighting against all kinds of discrimination within football and within society as a whole,” the spokesperson said.

“…FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter has on several occasions stressed that we must take our efforts to a higher level and lead the fight against discrimination in football.”

■ On Wednesday (August 12), both football clubs condemned not only the graffiti, but also homophobia in general.  See update HERE.

Another example of the hate graffiti in Belgrade.  In English, it reads: “Serbia for Serbs, Out with Faggots”.
photo courtesy GayEcho Website, Belgrade.


Football: FA and Premier League Slammed by Fans for Failure to Tackle Anti-Gay Abuse Days after it emerged that football fans in Belgrade had painted the city with homophobic graffiti, a YouGov survey of over 2,000 football fans across Britain has found that anti-gay abuse in the sport has been witnessed by seven in ten fans.  (UK Gay News, August 12, 2009)

Anti-discrimination Legislation Is Essential for the Democratic Future of Serbia – Bishop.  Calls have been made today for the Serbian government to put back on its agenda the proposed anti-discrimination legislation.  The draft legislation is said to have been withdrawn before the vote in the Serbian Parliament following pressure from the Serbian Orthodox Church.  (UK Gay News, March 9, 2009)

Transsexual Murdered in Belgrade.  A transsexual person was found dead in her flat in Belgrade at the weekend, the Serbian LGBT group Queeria told UK Gay News last night.   (UK Gay News, January 20, 2009)

Two Anti Gay Hate Groups in Serbia Zapped by Facebook.  Two Serbian “gay hate groups” have been removed by Facebook.  Two days ago, UK Gay News revealed that the two Facebook groups, “Queeria, Pederi Marš iz Srbije” and “СТОП ПЕДЕРИМА - КВИРИЈИ!” were posting death threats on Serbian gay men and women – and calling for other criminal activity.  (UK Gay News, December 27, 2008)

Please Protect Us, Serbian Gays Plead: Death Threats, Attacks Faced as Facebook Fails to Remove Two Hate Groups.  Please protect us.  That is the plea from gays and lesbian in Serbia to their government, the police and the wider world this holiday season. (UK Gay News, December 26, 2008)






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Posted: 10 Aug 2009 at 13:30 (UK time)
updated 18:00 and August 12 at 17:00


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