Russia’s national team | Photo: Facebook/Russia National Football Team
The 2018 FIFA World Cup begins tomorrow, 14 June, in Russia. The bookmaker company Paddy Power announced its support of the host country in an interesting way.
Every time Russia, a country known for its anti-LGBTI stances, scores a goal, Paddy Power will donate £10,000 to Attitude magazine’s Foundation. The money will go towards a campaign tackling homophobia in football.
Working with Foundation, the donations will support:
- Challenge LGBT+ prejudice on and off the field
- Support footballers and those in the game in coming out
- Fund educational programmes in schools and colleges
- Make grass-roots teams safe spaces for LGBT+ players
On the off-chance Russia never scores, Paddy Power has consequently promised a minimum donation of £50,000.
Figures like Caitlyn Jenner and Gareth Thomas are supporting the campaign and, inadvertently, Russia’s team.
I’m now a Russia fan! To find out why, check out my video below for @paddypower and then you can show support too via #RainbowRussians COME ON RUSSIA!” #ad For more information, check out: https://t.co/zEEHBeykFL pic.twitter.com/reGGbYRJxm
— Caitlyn Jenner (@Caitlyn_Jenner) June 13, 2018
Stepping in to help
‘Given they invented Russian Dolls, you’d be forgiven for thinking Russia wouldn’t have an issue with women being into other women,’ said a spokesperson for Paddy Power.
‘Likewise, their appreciation for bears is one shared around the world by the LGBT+ population, so it really is astonishing that they have not used their stewardship of this tournament to champion LGBT+ inclusivity.
‘As a result, we’ve stepped in to help.’
Darren Styles OBE, publisher of Attitude, said: ‘When Paddy Power approached us with this idea we leapt at the chance. The LGBT+ community has a long history of reclaiming and adopting behaviours, words and styles that were intended to discriminate against us, so for this tournament we’re adopting Russia.
‘The World Cup is meant to be about inclusivity, but thanks to the hosts – and those who chose the hosts – this tournament (and the next, in Qatar) is taking place in a nation with laws that discriminate against the LGBT+ population.’
Why Attitude’s Foundation?
Some might wonder why Paddy Power chose Attitude’s Foundation, instead of a Russian charity.
A contact told GSN one of the reasons was that Paddy Power didn’t want Russian authorities coming down on a charity within the country. Further, the Foundation will split the donations between various worldwide LGBTI groups, including in Russia.
The money will also benefit organizations helping everyone in the LGBTI community, not just gay men.
The first game of the World Cup is Russia against Saudia Arabia at Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium on Thursday (14 June).