Ex-national player Thomas Hitzlsperger: He thinks it’s “great” for World Cup players to come out

Ex-national player Thomas Hitzlsperger
He thinks it would be “great” for World Cup players to come out

Ex-soccer player Thomas Hitzlsperger publicly confessed to his homosexuality years ago.

Ex-soccer player Thomas Hitzlsperger publicly confessed to his homosexuality years ago.

© imago images/Sven Simon

Ex-soccer pro Thomas Hitzlsperger would be happy if players would come out as homosexual during the World Cup in Qatar.

Former national player Thomas Hitzlsperger (40) was the first prominent German footballer to publicly admit to being homosexual. It is still a difficult step for active players. Nevertheless, the 40-year-old would be happy to see players coming out at the upcoming men’s soccer World Cup in Qatar. “I would think it would be great if someone would do it, but I wouldn’t demand it,” explains Hitzlsperger to the weekly newspaper “Die Zeit”.

Coming out could be distracting

But the World Cup is not the best moment for it. After all, the players would travel there “to bring top performance,” explains Hitzlsperger. Coming out, on the other hand, would be “a maximum distraction. You might choose a different time.” The Qatari World Cup ambassador recently caused a stir when he spoke in an interview as part of the ZDF documentation “Geheimsache Qatar” described homosexuality as “mental damage”. According to Hitzlsperger, these statements could intimidate players or “feel challenged to come out”.

That the world championship of men’s football is even in Qatar is played, the ex-national player – like many others – is extremely critical. But for him, Fifa is “the basic problem”. “She ordered Qatar, she got Qatar and is now surprised at the criticism,” he clarifies. “When, as part of Fifa PR, famous ex-footballers like David Beckham travel the world for millions of dollars together with Fifa boss Gianni Infantino to explain to people how great everything was and is in Qatar, then that’s it obscene.”

The controversial World Cup in Qatar

The World Cup in Qatar will take place from November 20th to December 18th. There has been criticism since the award, since the Arab country has been accused of violating human rights, among other things. There is also a lack of women’s rights and foreign workers according to Amnesty International exploited. Homosexuality is illegal in Qatar and punishable by imprisonment. The World Cup host country has repeatedly assured in recent weeks that all people are welcome during the World Cup.

Thomas Hitzlsperger is working as an ARD expert at the World Cup in Qatar.


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