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Gay couple brutally attacked at World Cup in Russia

FIFA is largely to blame.

Russia v Saudi Arabia: Group A - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia
The threat of violence against LGBTQ World Cup fans in Russia just got very real.
Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images

It didn’t take long for the first anti-gay attack at the World Cup in Russia. Even before the first match — featuring anti-LGBTQ nations Russia and Saudi Arabia — kicked off, a gay French couple had been sent to the hospital in St. Petersburg after being viciously attacked.

O. Davrius and his partner, whose name we cannot find, had traveled to Russia to cheer on their beloved French National Team, according to Pink News. The couple was attacked, beaten and robbed. Davrius was sent to the hospital with possible brain injuries.

Two suspects have been arrested, thankfully.

While the Sochi Winter Olympics seemed to be void of these kinds of attacks, many people warned about them headed into the World Cup with its varied host cities and a militant organization publicly threatening to hunt down gay fans and attack them.

There are lots of people to blame for this, but at the top of mind is FIFA. The organization has routinely ignored warnings about civil-rights violations and has clearly not provided sufficient assurances that all fans would be protected in a host country known for its vicious attacks against LGBTQ people.

And in four years the World Cup will be hosted in a country — Qatar — where homosexuality is flat-out illegal.

We hope everyone in Russia will stay safe. At this point, no one could recommend LGBTQ fans and athletes in Russia for the World Cup do anything but proactively hide their sexual orientation or gender identity in public. FIFA and the Russian government cannot protect you.

An LGBT Russian group has set up a safety hotline for those who feel threatened.