No – not making this up. Russian politicians have demanded FIFA 17 – the popular video game published by EA Sports – be banned because it violates Russia’s laws against ‘gay propaganda’.
FIFA 17 is totally gay, according to the Russians, because it replicates the English Premier League’s role in the Rainbow Laces campaign where players wore multicolored laces in support of efforts to combat homophobia.
According to a report in The Guardian, quoting Russian newspaper Izvestia:
Communist MPs sent a letter to the communications oversight and state consumer protection agencies complaining that the popular EA Sports football game, which is rated all ages, “invites users to support the English football premier league’s Rainbow Laces action, a massive campaign in support of LGBT”.
United Russia MP Irina Rodnina, a former figure skater(!) who won three Olympic gold medals for the Soviet Union and who blamed a hacker for a racist post on her Twitter account about President Barack Obama and wife Michelle, told Izvestia that authorities need to “verify the possibility of distributing this game on the territory of the Russian Federation”.
“Every state has its internal laws and order; they need to be obeyed,” she said.
Other Russian politicians joined the call for EA to dump rainbow laces in its Russian version of the video game.
Communist MP Valery Rashkin told Izvestia that, following the investigation, the authorities should order the game’s developer, EA Canada, to “introduce changes to the programming code or the age classification of this information product, and if it refuses, adopt corresponding restrictive measures”.
Communist MPs introduced legislation in 2015 to fine or jail anyone in Russia who comes out or speaks of their homosexuality in public.
In case you missed it, Russia will host the 2018 World Cup finals.
It’s not just Qatar where there needs to be concerns about LGBT and other human rights issues.