Gay ITV News correspondent won’t watch World Cup due to Russia’s treatment of LGBT people
A gay ITV News correspondent revealed last night that he will be boycotting the FIFA World Cup due to Russia’s appalling treatment of LGBT people.
Political correspondent Paul Brand tweeted his stance as reports continue to surface about the violence LGBT football fans are subjected to.
He wrote: “Don’t mean to be a party pooper, but won’t be following the World Cup. Can’t get into the festivities when LGBT people in the host nation can’t safely be, let alone celebrate, who they are. They’re the only team I’m rooting for. But you cheer for whoever you like, I won’t preach.”
Brand jokingly added: “I mean, it also helps that I don’t understand football and Wales aren’t in it.”
The journalist’s view divided followers, with one responding that his opinion was “tricky.”
David Skelton wrote: “Can’t agree with you on this one. It’s an honourable position and I emphasise but 1) Mixing sport and politics is tricky; 2) the logical consequence is we shouldn’t have sporting links with 74 countries with poor LGBT rights; 3) World Cup offers chance to highlight issues.”
To which Brand replied: “Fair enough Dave. My reply: 1) If sport and politics don’t mix, why do we have a sports minister? 2) Think there’s a difference between a host nation (welcoming the world, except if you’re gay) and competing against a nation 3) There hasn’t been much discussion yet that I’ve seen”
Brand’s tweet coincides with a gay football fan being hospitalised in Russia after a vicious attack ahead of the tournament.
There have long been fears of violence against LGBT people travelling to the country for the tournament – which starts on Thursday – with the government directing fans to advice telling them to hide their sexuality in public.
LGBT activist group Pride in Football also revealed that it had been sent death threats saying that any gay fans going to the World Cup would be hunted down and stabbed.
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And it appears that these fears have been realised, with reports indicating that a gay couple – who had travelled to Russia to cheer on France – have been beaten in St Petersburg.
The pair were targeted after catching a taxi together, according to Telegram channel Operdrain, which reports news from police and other law agencies straight from the source.
The main victim, named as O. Davrius, was taken to the hospital, where doctors discovered that he had a brain contusion and open craniocerebral injury, as well as an upper jaw fracture.
The victims’ telephones and money were also taken during the horrific incident.
Two men in their 20s were arrested in connection with the attack. They were named as Ismet Gaidarov and Rasul Magomedov.