World’s only openly gay active pro footballer is concerned for LGBTQ community ahead of Qatar 2022 World Cup.
The only openly gay active pro footballer in the world is concerned for the safety of the LGBTQ community ahead of the 2022 World Cup.
Jamaican Jody Smith told BBC Sport he is worried for the safety of the community as he feels the “unfortunate actions” of the country’s powerful football federation in Qatar will affect everyone who goes through the process of playing for the country.
“I’ve been following the controversy surrounding the 2022 World Cup and it’s very unfortunate that people are being harmed and injured – it’s a very high-profile competition, but in my opinion it’s not good for society in general, I’m concerned about the safety of the LGBTQ community and I think that a lot of people who do get into the football industry are at risk,” he said.
Smith said he feels “shocked” by the events in Qatar ahead of the World Cup, adding he feels the current authorities are “undervaluing the community in their handling of it”.
The Qatari national team, however, have been very open about their inclusion of gay players.
“I think the Qatari federation should be commended for taking this decision, but we need to respect that decision and we need to stay the course and we need to keep trying to find ways to make the game more friendly to everybody,” he said.
Jamaican football was introduced in the country in the late 1980s, after Jamaica signed a $1.25m (£910,000) agreement with Qatar to help finance a professional football league.
The country also signed a deal to host the 2012 Olympics, which are being hosted by the country.