Survey Shows Majority of Soccer Fans Would Support An LGBT Player

by Ryan Lynch

South Florida Gay News

Sunday December 24, 2017

A majority of soccer fans would not mind having an LGBT player on their national soccer team.

Soccer app Forza Soccer and LGBT advocacy group Stonewall found in a survey of over 50,000 fans in 38 countries that 76 percent of people would support an LGBT player, according to Outsports. In Russia, which will host the 2018 World Cup, the total of supporters doubled from 21 percent in 2014 to 47 percent in 2017.

"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," Forza Football's CEO Patrik Arnesson said. "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."

Notably, only 63 percent of U.S. fans would accept an LGBT player on their team, which was behind Mexico (65 percent) in terms of acceptance. Iceland and Ireland led all countries with an 87 percent acceptance rate for each.

Fans in countries which consider homosexuality a crime, including the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Saudi Arabia, were the least comfortable with having an LGBT player. They finished with 13, 10 and 11 percent respectively.

"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," Stonewall Executive Director Ruth Hunt said. "In 72 countries same-sex relationships are criminalized and, as this poll shows, where there is anti-LGBT legislation there will inevitably be hostile attitudes."

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