76% of fans would feel comfortable if a player in their national team came out as gay or bi
Over 50,000 football fans have taken part a survey exploring global attitudes towards gay and bisexual players.Live score app Forza Football and LGBTQ charity Stonewall teamed up to conduct the largest ever study of its kind, and found some interesting results.The key finding was that 76% of football fans internationally would feel comfortable if a player in their national team came out as gay or bisexual.That percentage climbs to 80% for British fans, but actually falls to 63% for American fans.However, it’s Irish and Icelandic football fans who would feel the most comfortable, with both at 87%.Unsurprisingly, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE would feel the least comfortable, coming in at 10%, 11%, and 13% respectively.That being said, Russia saw the largest increase in tolerance towards gay and bisexual players, jumping from 21% of fans being comfortable with the idea in 2014, to 47% of fans in 2017.
With the World Cup taking place next year in Russia, the survey also asked fans if LGBTQ rights should be considered when FIFA are deciding on the host nation for the tournaments.The result? 64% of fans globally think that FIFA should consider LGBTQ rights should be a factor in the decision-making process.When broken down for different territories, that stands at 77% of Icelanders, 66% of Brits, and 55% of Americans.Though I am proud of this report and our ability to give football fans one collective voice, the results make for unsettling reading,” said Patrik Arnesson, Forza Football CEO and Founder.Lesbian, gay, bi and trans people are part of the football community across the world, and have as much right to play, watch and follow the game as much as anyone else.
“Organisations like FIFA and national leagues and governing bodies have a responsibility to ensure that fans across the world are educated about the importance of welcoming LGBT players and fans, and they must challenge discrimination and abuse at their tournaments.While it is encouraging to see the attitudes of Russian fans improving towards LGBT people in football, there is still such a long way to go.With the biggest sporting event on earth taking place in Russia in 2018, we want to see FIFA taking a stronger stance to ensure the safety of all LGBT fans involved in the tournament.”Ruth Hunt, Chief Executive of Stonewall, added: “What these results reflect is how much work there is still to do before we can say that we live in a world where lesbian, gay, bi and trans people are accepted without exception.In 72 countries same-sex relationships are criminalised and, as this poll shows, where there is anti-LGBT legislation there will inevitably be hostile attitudes. We believe sport has the power to bring people together and create change.For many LGBT people in Russia for example, the World Cup is seen as an opportunity for the daily abuses and discrimination they face to be put under the spotlight; to be questioned and criticised.
“We know many fans in the UK will be keen to protest the human rights abuses that LGBT people face in Russia and we’ll be working closely with activists based in the country to ensure that whatever action is taken is helpful and effective.We believe the upcoming World Cups are an opportunity to shine a light on what the situation is like for LGBT people in Russia and Qatar and start conversations that can lead to positive change.”This survey took place in October 2017 and included Forza Football users from 38 countries across five continents.