LA Galaxy star and unrepentant hunk Robbie Rogers blasted FIFA for on Thursday for their decision to hold the 2018 and 2022 World Cups in the virulently anti-gay countries of Russia and Qatar, respectively.
In a recent interview with Sky Sports, Rogers, the highest-profile, openly-gay footballer in the world, called the decision "insane."
"I would never pressure anyone into speaking about the issue but it is absolutely insane," he said. "If you look at the next few World Cups, they are in places where, if I were to go, I could possibly be imprisoned or beat up or stoned to death. It is pretty ridiculous."
Rogers, who played with Leeds United between 2012 and 2013 and helped the Galaxy win the MLS cup earlier this month, also talked about how his coming out led to his early retirement from the sport and eventually brought him to LA Galaxy.
"The support from my teammates, guys that I heard things from who were very homophobic, they were the same guys that called me or sent me letters," Rogers said. "There was that and then fans that reacted to the story in a very positive way made me believe that I needed to find courage to go back into the sport."
He dismissed the suggestions that he was forced to leave Britain, where there are no other openly-gay players, and said he wanted to return to Los Angeles to be close to his family.
"The Leeds fans have been very supportive as has the club and all of my teammates here and in Holland and guys that I played with in the national team. It was more for me to go back to LA and be around my family and just be in an environment that I was comfortable with," said Rogers.
But he told NBC Sports that he was concerned about the safety of gay fans traveling to Russia and Qatar to watch the games, due to Russia's bill banning "propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations to minors," and Qatar's ban on gay sex.
"There is going to be number of gay fans that will go to watch the sport. Of course there is going to be another gay footballer there. So 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," said Rogers.
From our media partner EDGE