LA Galaxy star Robbie Rogers has spoken out about FIFA’s decision to host the 2018 and 2022 World Cups in Russia and Qatar, respectively.
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The highest profile active soccer player to come out as being gay, Rogers has had plenty of the media spotlight on him over the past 18 months. Since he left English soccer and Leeds United in 2013 to head back to Major League Soccer and play for the LA Galaxy, Rogers has excelled in a new left back role and helped lead LA to the 2014 MLS Cup title in his first full season back in the league.
Appearing on Sky Sports News in the UK on Thursday to promote his book which tells his story about publicly announcing his homosexuality and much more, Rogers was asked about his thoughts on the 2018 and 2022 World Cups being held in countries which have strict laws against homosexuality.
“I would never pressure anyone into speaking about the issue but it is absolutely insane,” Rogers said. “If you look at the next few World Cups, they are in places where, if I were to go, I would possibly be imprisoned or beat up or stoned to death. It is pretty ridiculous.”
Rogers revealed he is also concerned about gay fans going to watch the games in Russia and Qatar. In 2013 Russia’s President Vladimir Putin signed a bill banning the “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations to minors” and in Qatar any gay sex is illegal.
“There is going to be number of gay fans that will go to watch the sport,” Rogers said. “Of course there is going to be another gay footballer there. I think it is an issue that needs to be spoken about and discussed with FIFA because every player should feel safe when they go to a World Cup.”
In the intriguing interview with Sky, Rogers also revealed that he never felt forced to leave Leeds United after coming out as gay, and has received plenty of support from his former teammates in England and Holland plus with the U.S. national team.
That brings up an intriguing question: what if Rogers was to make it back to the USMNT and be in Jurgen Klinsmann’s squad for the 2018 World Cup in Russia? What would happen then?
His form for LA suggests he would provide a great option at left back for the USA, especially with DaMarcus Beasley announcing his retirement earlier this week. But Rogers has not made an appearance for the Stars and Stripes since 2011 and it remains to be seen if the man who came out of retirement in 2013, after much media attention about his sexuality, would be willing to thrust himself into the spotlight if the U.S. opts to select him.