Openly-gay LA Galaxy midfielder Robbie Rogers said FIFA's decision to hold the 2018 World Cup in Russia and 2022 World Cup in Qatar is "absolutely insane."
Openly gay LA Galaxy midfielder Robbie Rogers told Sky Sports that FIFA's decision to hold the 2018 World Cup in Russia and 2022 World Cup in Qatar is "absolutely insane."
Russia signed a law in 2013 banning pro-gay ''propaganda'' that could be accessible to minors, and the country's treatment of its LGBT citizens became a major concern leading up to the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. In Qatar, homosexuality is illegal.
"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 or stoned to death. It is pretty ridiculous," Rogers said.
Rogers said he thinks the safety of both players and fans could be at risk at the tournaments, adding that it's an issue he believes should be discussed with FIFA "because every player should feel safe when they go to a World Cup."
Rogers came out back in February 2013, retiring from soccer on the same day. Three months later, he came out of retirement and joined the Galaxy, becoming the first openly gay man to play in a game in any of the five major American sports.
The 27-year-old has 18 caps for the U.S. men's national team. United States coach Jurgen Klinsmann recently said that Rogers would be part of U.S. January camp "if it was purely senior guys."
- Molly Geary