By James Crook

FIFA Discriminaion Panel chairman Jeffrey Webb (pictured right) has confirmed that FIFA President Sepp Blatter (pictured left) and secretary general Jérôme Valcke will lead discussions over Russia's anti-gay lawSeptember 12 - FIFA Discrimination Panel chairman Jeffrey Webb has revealed that the President of world football's governing body, Sepp Blatter, and secretary general Jérôme Valcke will lead discussions on Russia's controversial anti-gay legislation in preparation for the nation hosting the World Cup in 2018.

The legislation, which was bought in by Russia's President Vladimir Putin this June, forbids the promotion of "homosexual propaganda", and has sparked demonstrations worldwide in the lead-up to next year's Winter Olympics and Paralympics in Sochi.

FIFA is now seeking clarification on the law which has led to protest groups boycotting Russian vodka, and also made the headlines when Swedish athlete Emma Green-Tregaro painted her nails rainbow-coloured in a "silent protest" at the Athletics World Championships in Moscow last month.

"We have been advised that the FIFA administration, the President and secretary general, are in discussions with the Russian authorities," Webb said following the panel's session today, adding that FIFA "does not tolerate or accept any form of discrimination".

Despite this, Webb said the panel will not stipulate guidelines to Russia for the 2018 World Cup, or to the hosts of the 2022 World Cup, Qatar - where homosexual acts between adult males are illegal.

Jérôme Valcke and Sepp Blatter will lead discussions on Russia's anti-gay legislation prior to the 2018 World Cup in the nationJérôme Valcke and Sepp Blatter will lead discussions on Russia's anti-gay legislation prior to the 2018 World Cup in the nation

"Whatever we do as a task force has to have the universality of the 209 [nation] membership of FIFA," he explained.

"If there is an infringement in regard to the FIFA statutes, that is for the FIFA disciplinary bodies and FIFA Executive Committee to address.

"FIFA, of course, cannot address the issues for society as a whole, but I think FIFA can definitely address it internally with coaches, players, clubs and stadiums."

Webb went on to say that the panel will now prioritise identifying potentially high-risk World Cup matches, as well as aiding member associations with the training and recruitment of anti-discrimination specialists.

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