Openly gay footballer Robbie Rogers has sounded off on the absurdity of giving the next two World Cup events—scheduled for 2018 and 2022—to Russia and Qatar.
“I would never pressure anyone into speaking about the issue but it is absolutely insane,” he told Sky Sports . “If you look at the next few World Cups, they are in places where, if I were to go, I would possibly be imprisoned or beat up ... It is pretty ridiculous.
Homosexuality is illegal in Qatar and Russian President Vladimir Putin has instituted a number of anti-gay policies. Rogers worries not only about the safety of the fans but also that of the players. “There is going to be number of gay fans that will go to watch the sport. Of course there is going to be another gay footballer there,” Rogers said. “I think it is an issue that needs to be spoken about and discussed with FIFA because every player should feel safe when they go to a World Cup.”
“If actions speak louder than words, then the message FIFA sends to gay athletes is painfully clear,” writes Rogers. “Not only don't they have our backs, our lives don't matter. So for any gay soccer player who has hopes of playing for the U.S. National Team at the World Cup, being open about their sexuality could have real consequences when they set foot in countries with laws that could land them in jail.”