Robbie Rogers, the only footballer to come out as gay whilst playing, has slammed FIFA over the Qatar and Russia World Cups.
In a scathing and wide ranging guest article for USA Today, the LA Galaxy player has told FIFA that the organisation gives gay athletes “a good reason to hide” and that gay players’ “sexuality could have real consequences when they set foot in countries with laws that could land them in jail”.
“If actions speak louder than words, then the message FIFA sends to gay athletes is painfully clear. 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”, said Rogers.
“My fellow gay players are keeping the closet door locked … FIFA is great at lofty rhetoric. They say their goal is improving the game of soccer ‘constantly and promot(ing) it globally in the light of its unifying, educational, cultural and humanitarian values, particularly through youth and development programs’ … [but] it still gives them very good reasons to hide. And that’s not my imagination”.
FIFA have not yet responded to Rogers’ concerns.