A Premier League soccer pundit sparked outrage after launching a 2-minute-long anti-gay tirade during a live match

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A Premier League soccer pundit sparked outrage after launching a 2-minute-long anti-gay tirade during a live match
Mohamed Aboutrika was appearing on beIN Sports when he made the comments.Mohamed Hossam/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
  • A soccer pundit on an official Premier League broadcaster has caused outrage with an anti-LGBTQ tirade.
  • Mohamed Aboutrika made the comments live during a game between Chelsea and Manchester United.

An Egyptian soccer pundit has sparked outrage after a two-minute-long rant live on TV in which he described homosexuality as being against "human nature."

Retired player Mohamed Aboutrika, one of the best-known soccer stars in Egypt's history, made the comments during an appearance as a pundit on Qatari broadcaster beIN Sports' coverage of the Premier League.

During the rant, Aboutrika also urged Muslim players to boycott the Premier League's Rainbow Laces campaign, which is designed to support the LGBTQ+ community.

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According to the league's website, the initiative aims to promote equality and diversity, and intends to make "all those connected to clubs, including supporters, feel safe and welcome, irrespective of sexual orientation or gender identity."

As part of the campaign, many Premier League players wear rainbow-colored laces in their cleats as a small gesture of their support.

A Premier League soccer pundit sparked outrage after launching a 2-minute-long anti-gay tirade during a live match
Aboutrika made 100 appearances for Egypt.Alex Livesey - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images

Aboutrika, who retired in 2013 with 100 caps for the Egyptian national team, said that being gay "does not fit" with Islam, and that Muslim people "have a role to play" in eliminating it, per a translation from the original Arabic by The Athletic.

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"This phenomenon is not only against Islam's nature but it's against human nature," he said.

"Our role is to stand up to this phenomenon, homosexuality, because it's a dangerous ideology and it's becoming nasty and people are not ashamed of it anymore," added Aboutrika.

"They will tell you that homosexuality is a human right. No, it is not a human right, in fact, it's against humanity."

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His comments were made during a live broadcast of the 1-1 draw between Manchester United and Chelsea in the Premier League over the weekend. beIN Sports is the official broadcaster of the Premier League in the Middle East and North Africa.

Both Aboutrika and the TV network have been sharply criticized for making and airing the comments by those involved in anti-discrimination efforts in soccer.

The charity Kick It Out, which focuses on eliminating discrimination of any kind in British soccer said it was "extremely disappointed and very concerned that beIN Sports decided it was appropriate to broadcast such hate speech."

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"Kick It Out condemns the incredibly homophobic comments of Mohamed Aboutrika, and our support and solidarity goes out to any members of the LGBTQ+ community that have been affected by them," Chris Paouros, a Kick It Out trustee, told the Guardian.

A Premier League soccer pundit sparked outrage after launching a 2-minute-long anti-gay tirade during a live match
Qatar was awarded the World Cup in 2010.Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

"We are extremely disappointed and very concerned that beIN Sports decided it was appropriate to broadcast such hate speech in full on their network, and urge them to issue an apology to the LGBTQ+ community for doing so.

Paouros went on to highlight concerns about beIN's broadcasting of such hate speech ahead of the 2022 World Cup, which will be held in Qatar.

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"As a Qatari broadcaster, beIN's willingness to amplify homophobia in this way brings further into focus the safety of LGBTQ+ fans and players who may travel to Qatar for the World Cup, not to mention the freedoms of LGBTQ+ Qataris."

A Premier League soccer pundit sparked outrage after launching a 2-minute-long anti-gay tirade during a live match
As well as rainbow laces, the captains wore rainbow-colored armbands.Charlotte Wilson/Offside/Offside via Getty Images

In Qatar, sexual acts between two people of the same sex are punishable with imprisonment, while trans people are banned from changing their legal gender, LGBT charity Stonewall says.

The Premier League has condemned the comments, saying in a statement: "We wholeheartedly disagree with the pundit's views. The Premier League and its clubs are committed to supporting LGBTQ+ inclusion and making clear football is for everyone."

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ESPN reported Wednesday that the league has already held discussions with beIN about Aboutrika's comments, but the outcome of those discussions is not clear.

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