“If I’m FIFA and there’s anyone who is trying to support the beautiful game but doesn’t feel comfortable in stadiums, that’s an issue. If it’s based on sexuality, race or gender, whatever it is, there needs to be work done and it needs to be made a point to make these people feel comfortable going to the stadium,” said Collin Martin.
With the World Cup coming up in Qatar this year, expectations are high for the world’s biggest sporting event. However, it’s not just the competitive environment that’s raising doubts about the World Cup.
As is well known, the host country is widely known for its radicalism in terms of the Muslim religion, which is conservative in many respects and is in stark contrast to how life is conducted in the West. This has led to fears from even the players that their rights won’t be respected.
In the run-up to the World Cup, the Arab country has already made a series of announcements for both athletes and tourists travelling to watch the games, measures that have been criticized for violating human, sexual and identity rights.
For example, homosexuality is punishable by imprisonment and same-sex marriages aren’t recognized by the authorities. In addition, the government has announced that sexual relations between unmarried people are prohibited.
In view of this, some athletes have come out to raise their voices, asking FIFA to provide guarantees during the football event. This was done by the American player, Collin Martin, who has openly stated that he is homosexual, as have LGBTQI+ rights organizations.
“We have to acknowledge that fans feel this way and first hear them. These are not just empty words. There’s a reason why they don’t feel safe. And, that’s because the government has made it clear that they are not willing to outwardly support gay people on a basic level. There’s consequences to that which gay fans don’t feel comfortable supporting their teams,” Martin told the Daily Mail.
“If I’m FIFA and there’s anyone who is trying to support the beautiful game but doesn’t feel comfortable in stadiums, that’s an issue. If it’s based on sexuality, race or gender, whatever it is, there needs to be work done and it needs to be made a point to make these people feel comfortable going to the stadium,” the 27-year-old added.
Martin hopes to go to Qatar to cheer on his country should the San Diego Loyalty player not be called up. For this reason, he wants for himself, and any other fans of sexual diversity, to be safe during their stay in the Arab country.
Discrimination based on people’s sexuality should no longer happen, but sadly, it still does. Martin urged FIFA and other relevant bodies to take action to ensure that this doesn’t happen at the world’s biggest sporting event.