Sport

Football pundit sparks backlash after ‘gobsmackingly horrendous’ homophobic rant on live TV

Nola Ojomu December 2, 2021
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Former Egyptain footballer Mohamed Aboutrika

An Egyptian football pundit has sparked outrage after claiming homosexuality is against “human nature” during a two-minute tirade on live TV.

Retired player Mohamed Aboutrika, who is one of the best-known footballers in Egypt’s history, made shocking comments about the Premier League’s Rainbow Laces campaign on Qatari broadcaster beIN Sports.

During his rant on Sunday (28 November), Aboutrika urged Muslim players to boycott the campaign, which has been designed to support the LGBT+ community.

As stated on the Premier League‘s website, the initiative aims to promote equality and diversity, and intends to make “all those connected to clubs, including supporters, feel safe and welcome, irrespective of sexual orientation or gender identity.”

Many Premier League players have been wearing rainbow-coloured laces on their boots to show their support, with team captains also wearing matching armbands.

The campaign has seen the likes of fellow Egyptian Muslim and Liverpool striker Mohamed Salah participate in a bid to stamp out homophobia in football, which led Aboutrika to claim that homosexuality is a “dangerous idealogy that is becoming nasty”.

Mohamed Aboutrika, 43, began: “This phenomenon is not only against Muslim nature but it’s against human nature.”

He continued: “Our role is to stand up to this phenomenon, homosexuality, because it’s a dangerous ideology and it’s becoming nasty and people are not ashamed of it anymore.

“Allah says in the Quran that we have to honor the children of Adam but by doing this homosexuality we are not honoring humans, we are humiliating them.

“They (the Premier League) will tell you that homosexuality is human rights. No, it is not human rights; in fact, it’s against humanity.”

Mohamed Aboutrika urged beIN to refuse to show “anything LGBT-related” during its coverage of Premier League games. He was met with little pushback by the presenter when making his comments.

Clips of the rant soon began to appear on social media as many reacted in shock to the vile tirade.

A Twitter user wrote: “Reminder to everything that thinks homophobia isn’t a problem and why things like #RainbowLaces is needed. Either these people stop sharing their outdated, bigoted views online or the Premier League need to take their rights away from them.”

Another person commented: “This is quite irresponsible and unbalanced to allow him to spout his views unchallenged on this platform especially when this is the exact rhetoric the campaign is fighting.”

Following the backlash, a beIN spokesman said: “As a global media group we represent, champion and support people, causes and interests of every single background, language and cultural heritage across 43 hugely diverse countries, as we show every day.”

The network says they will continue to promote the Rainbow Laces campaign alongside other initiatives supporting under-represented talent.

Premier league rainbow captain armband (Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Meanwhile, a Premier League spokesperson reacted to the opinions expressed and stated: “We wholeheartedly disagree with the pundit’s views. The Premier League and its clubs are committed to supporting LGBTQ+ inclusion and making clear football is for everyone.”

The charity Kick It Out, which focuses on eliminating discrimination of any kind within the spot, said it was “extremely disappointed and very concerned that beIN Sports decided it was appropriate to broadcast such hate speech.”

The shocking rant comes amid ongoing criticism about Qatar hosting the World Cup in 2022.

The 2022 World Cup will be the first one held in the Arab world and many LGBT+ fans have raised concerns due to the fact the Gulf state sees their existence as illegal.

In response to the seething criticism over its anti-LGBT+ laws, Qatar said that it would allow LGBT+ Pride flags in World Cup 2022 stadiums.

More: premier league, Qatar, rainbow laces, world cup

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