David Cameron Decries Homophobia in Football
During last month’s trip to the Gulf region UK Prime Minister David Cameron spoke about, among other issues, the need for tolerance in football in light of the successful 2022 World Cup bid by the nation of Qatar.
After admitting to his counterpart, Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad Bin Jassim Bin Jabor Althani, that he felt a “hint of jealousy” as England’s 2018 World Cup bid was declined, Cameron was asked by a reporter for his thoughts on homosexuality in football in the context of the Qatari bid. Concerns had arisen about the inclusion and safety of homosexual players and fans, as homosexuality is illegal under Qatar’s constitutional Shari’a law. FIFA president Sepp Blatter came under fire for flippant comments regarding homosexual fans and players who would be in Qatar for the cup. He later apologized
But the Prime Minister was optimistic that during the World Cup the host nation would treat all fans and players with respect, stating “football is for everybody – no one should be excluded on the basis of their race or religion or sexuality. It is absolutely vital that is the case. I am sure that will be the case when the World Cup comes here.”
Cameron went on to note the social change power that football has had in his own nation, saying “football can be a great engine for social change and a change of attitudes – we saw in our own country how football drove racism out of the stands. Just as that has happened, so, too, we need to make sure that there is no place for homophobia in football.”
Cameron, as a Conservative MP, has voted against legislative initiatives advancing gay rights in the past but claims to have changed his position on the issue, voting for civil partnerships for gays and lesbians in 2004.