>> It's some kind of sign it's okay with situation in your country, with human rights situation in your country.>> In Russia, Zoya Matusova is among those arguing FIFA has fallen short. Soccer's ruling body signed off on a World Cup training base for Egypt. The issue is, it's in Chechnya, a Russian republic that rights groups and western governments say persecutes political opponents and sexual minorities.
Now its leader, Ramzan Kadyrov, is reaping the rewards, making the most of a photo op with one of the world's top soccer stars. For Zoya, it's an issue close to home. She volunteers with the LGBT Network, a group that's helped Chechnyans flee alleged persecution for their sexuality, but she's paid a price.
Last year in this Moscow spot, Zoya was attacked with a chemical substance one night after leaving a nearby meeting.>> They said something about, glory to Russia, and something about, They saved Russia from LGBT.>> In Russia, homosexuality is legislated against, the law bans so-called gay propaganda. Since awarding this World Cup to Russia and the 2022 tournament to Qatar, FIFA has faced accusations of not doing enough to protect human rights.
To answer their critics, the organization has updated its policies, crucially saying they not only respect human rights, but promote them. When we asked FIFA if the approval of a training base in Chechnya contradicts this pledge, they said this. There should be no doubt that, in line with its Human Rights Policy, FIFA condemns the discrimination of any form.
Through its activities, FIFA is fully committed to implementing its human rights responsibilities. They did not respond when asked if this meant they had spoken to Russian or Chechnyan authorities about alleged abuses. Instead highlighting their public concern at the detention of a prominent Chechnyan human rights activist. The Kremlin-backed
] has denied all allegations leveled at the region, including the abduction and torture of gay men.
But he also denies there are any such people in Chechnya.