Former Aston Villa and Everton midfielder Thomas Hitzlsperger, who came out publicly in 2014, expressed his concerns about the challenges that fans and players might face at the 2022 World Cup
’s current penal system is in contradiction with at least two Fifa articles on non-discrimination and human rights, it has been confirmed by Fifa and Qatari officials that Qatar will comply with the football governing body’s stance on anti-LGBTI discrimination as fans are allowed to fly rainbow flags in stadia at 2022World Cup
Stuttgart’s sporting director and the Ambassador for Diversity for the German Football Association (DFB)
praised the progress that has been made in the last decade at the European Parliament Intergroup on
Former Aston Villa and Everton midfielder Hitzlsperger, who came out publicly in 2014, also expressed his concerns about the challenges that players and fans might face during the tournament.
“I’ve never been to Qatar and we don’t intend to go there for a training camp, but I know that it’s an issue and I’ve talked to players, not just here at Stuttgart but overall in Germany, who will help us to make progress,” he said.
“Looking at the perspective of players, often we want professional football players to stand up and raise their voice. It’s not that easy. We’re all fans and fans are often disappointed that football players don’t help broader society more… but we throw them under the bus because all we ask them to do is cut their wages.
“We can’t just say ‘you have to give money because you earn so much’. There are individuals who certainly know how influential they are and they think it’s important to raise their voice and help on various aspects.
“But there are a lot of young players who just don’t care, they want to be football players. And what we do is try and explain to them. It’s very difficult because they’re surrounded by agents and all their friends and all they want to be is a football player.”
players by taking part in the “Rainbow Laces” campaign tried to promote inclusion within football.
Also, the German FA is planning to lead the way on making football more tolerant before hosting the European Champions in 2024 as they have now unisex toilets at all home matches for the German national team and at the DFB-Pokal final.
“People were focusing several years ago on ‘is there a gay football player, a top professional who wants to come out and how can we help them’,” Hitzlsperger added.
“It’s not just about coming out publicly at the highest level, there are so many footballers who need assistance in their local team.
“The goal of 2024, hosting the European Championships, drives us to become that role model, other countries look at the German FA and say ‘we want to learn from you’.”
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