Digital Transformation

Russia watchdog group targets Fifa 17 for its support of LGBT Rainbow Laces campaign

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By John McCarthy | Media editor

December 5, 2016 | 3 min read

Russia's state-sponsored media watchdog group has made headlines again as it looks to impose restrictions upon Fifa 16 developer EA Sports over its subtle inclusion of material from LGBT group Stonewall’s Rainbow Laces campaign.

Having previously spoken out against Calvin Klein, U2 and Apple over supposed outlawed gay propaganda, popular football simulation game Fifa is now in the organisations' crosshairs.

The Guardian quotes the Izvestia newspaper, claiming that Russian MPs have issued a complaint to the state watchdog that monitors content positively portray LGBT people, something the law says can cause “harm to children’s health and development”.

Stonewall

Stonewall UK's Rainbow Lace campaign

Apparently, the game’s inclusion of Rainbow Laces, a campaign encouraging footballers to show solidarity with LGBT people, warrants a restriction from the Russian media watchdog. Players could dress their players in free Rainbow coloured jerseys as an extension of the activity.

The campaign against the supposed gay propaganda also raised the question on social media how the nation can expect to host the 2018 World Cup despite its attitude towards gay players.

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The tournament has partnered with Russia’s Alfa-Bank to plug the hole left by western sponsors in the face of numerous Fifa scandals.

A Stonewall spokesperson told The Drum: "Rainbow Laces is about empowering allies to stand up in support of lesbian, gay, bi and trans people, either on or off the pitch and when EA Sports created the special rainbow kit for FIFA 17, it demonstrated the power that those allies can have in creating change for LGBT people. It also shows the potential that sport, through the Rainbow Laces, has in reaching new audiences and bringing LGBT rights to the international stage."

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