Monday, 21 November 2022

My Footballess World Cup


Support LGBT+ fans may not be seeing this World Cup

My first memory of World Cup was Argentina 1978 as the UK was on the March with Allie's Army. There was the first wall chart in Glenn family history hung on the cork tiles in the kitchen and one of the first games I may have watched involved Iran who played Scotland in the second of their group games.

This year Iran are gain taking on some home nations today playing England and later will take on Wales. However, unlike 1978 and every World Cup since I don't care. You see almost 10 years ago when the venue of this World Cup was announced I blogged with the concluding remarking saying:

So I guess I'll not even be watching the 2022 World Cup, even on TV, thanks to decision of FIFA today. Wonder what I'll end up doing instead?

Well true to my word I am not.

The announcement today that the 9 European nations who said they would wear the One Love armband all backed out of their commitment when it turned up that their captains would face a football sanction for doing so, makes that decision all the more real.

Before the tournament started FIFA President trying to rally people around te football rather than the failures of Qatar said amongst other things "Today I am gay". Sadly the actions of him and FIFA show that he is not gay. 

Also those who promised to be allies of LGBT+ fans have proven they are only allies in words alone, not when they might face consequences. They promised to wear an armband saying one love, in support of LGBT+ fans, but when FIFA said they would face football sanctions possibly a yellow card, those promises vanished. The LGBT+ fans were up in arms. You see gay people face consequences.

At the weekend, there were five people at a nightclub in Colorado Springs who lose their lives when a shooter invaded a gay nightclub, in a reasonably liberal society. In Qatar LGBT+ people face prision time for being who they are, today even some fans have been told to take off shirts with the price colours on them.

It reminds me of an anecdote of my time supporting Livingston. When you support a small team home and away the stalwarts all know you, there were three coaches of fans at away matches at the time, we were a large family. But occassionally we had more fans than normal travelling away. At one League Cup tie at Celtic Park we have a wedge in one corner of the stadium. So when a Celtic player stepped up to take a corner and as the players raised their hands calling for the ball, one of my teams fans started shouting "Put you hand up if your gay". So I did. He was only about 4 rows behind me, so I could hear some of the regulars telling him to stop, as they know I was was there and what me raising my had was all about. Survice to say he never tried that again suring that match.

Gay fans have step by step taken fans to stand up. Face consequences. Become bolder. Follow our teams, our countries and not hide who we are. Sadly today FIFA, the FIFA President, certain Associations and players have all shown that unlike gay fans or gay players they are not prepared to face the consequneces when it actually matters. 

Their words are hollow. Their support fair weather.

My World Cup for 2020 will remain footballless.

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