World’s only openly gay active pro footballer is concerned for LGBTQ community ahead of Qatar 2022 World Cup
The only openly gay active pro football player in a major European club has warned that the Qatari bid to host the 2022 football World Cup has made a grave mistake.
Antoine Valois, the only openly gay active pro footballer to have won a major European individual prize, and a former member of the French youth international side, said the 2022 World Cup would be a “historic” moment for the gay community.
“The Qatar 2022 World Cup is in my opinion a disastrous decision,” Valois told the Guardian. “It has turned the World Cup into a huge commercial fraud and turned us into targets for the international boycott.”
Qatar is bidding to host the tournament between June 14 and July 14, 2022, along with England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Qatar’s bid has received criticism from major sporting bodies, including Fifa, which has asked for the bid to be reviewed.
A report in the International Business Times suggested the government had “no interest” in hosting a major sporting event such as the World Cup.
“We’re forgotten identity and society has forgotten us,” Valois said. “We’re not wanted and it worries me to death what’s going to happen in 2022.”
With the support of the French government, Paris Saint-Germain have announced they are boycotting the tournament after the Qataris refused to hold a public referendum on the issue.
“If you come to a conclusion that (LGBT) is a terrorist group, there are two more choices. You can be a terrorist group or a terrorist,” Valois told the Guardian.
“The majority of my life I’ve been a football player, I’ve played in the world leagues, and I can’t do anything else.”
Valois is the first openly gay active member of any major European club.
The 24-year-old forward, who has made more than 200 appearances for clubs such as Marseille and Paris, was forced to retire from professional football in 2012 after suffering from depression.
In 2015 and 2016, he travelled to several countries to expose the sexual abuse of children by former Russian military intelligence agents who were using the World