Tom Daley says his ‘one wish’ is that a Premier League player comes out as gay in 2022 in Channel 4 ‘Alternative Christmas message’, as the Olympic gold medal winner criticises hosting next year’s World Cup in ‘unsafe’ Qatar
- Tom Daley has been chosen to do Channel 4’s ‘Alternative Christmas Message’
- The diver says his one Christmas wish is for a Premier League player to come out
- There is only one male professional player currently playing who is openly gay
- Australian Josh Cavallo is the only gay player out of 650,000 professional stars
- In his speech, Daley will highlight the World Cup being staged in Qatar next year
- Qatar, whose World Cup England have qualified fo, has a poor LGBTQ+ record
Tom Daley will tell the nation on Christmas Day that his ‘one wish’ for 2022 is a Premier League footballer to come out as gay.
The Olympic medallist, who finished as runner-up in this year’s BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award, has been chosen to do Channel 4’s Alternative Christmas Message which will air on Saturday.
Daley, who first told the world he was in a relationship with a man eight years ago this month, says a first openly gay Premier League footballer would be a groundbreaking moment and could inspire other youngster to express their sexuality.
‘If I had one Christmas wish it would be that next year that changes,’ Daley will say in his Christmas message. ‘That one impossibly brave Premier League player steps forward and says: “I am gay.”
‘That person would inspire gay people everywhere, give hope to thousands of teenagers struggling with their sexuality and save the lives of countless young people who don’t currently feel like they have a place in this world.’
Tom Daley will say his ‘one Christmas wish’ is for a Premier League player to come out in 2022 in his Channel 4 speech
There is only one professional male footballer who is openly gay – with none in English football
There has been no openly gay footballer in Premier League history who came out during his playing days, but some – for example ex-Aston Villa midfielder Thomas Hitzlsperger – have announced their homosexuality after they retired.
The Premier League annually dedicates two rounds of fixtures to Stonewall’s ‘Rainbow Laces’ campaign, promoting inclusivity and diversity in its sport.
All games see players given rainbow-coloured shoe laces to wear, while club captains are handed rainbow armbands with special rainbow corner flags given to each club as well.
Earlier this year, Australian footballer Josh Cavallo – who plays for Adelaide United – became the only known current top-flight male football player in the world to come out as gay in October.
The 21-year-old said was done with feeling ashamed about his sexuality and the exhaustion of trying to live a ‘double-life’ – and received an outpour of support from the male football community.
Australian Josh Cavallo (above) is the only professional footballer currently playing who is openly gay after his coming out in October
Olympic champion Daley (left, with husband Dustin Lance Black) is one of Britain’s most famous gay sportsmen
Meanwhile, the English Women’s Super League has several openly gay footballers across several squads.
In his Christmas Day speech, Daley will also the highlight the staging of next year’s FIFA World Cup in Qatar – a country which has a poor history of treatment of LGBTQ+ individuals.
‘In 2022 the World Cup is being held in the second most dangerous country for queer people – Qatar,’ Daley will add. ‘Why are we allowing places that aren’t safe for all fans and all players to host our most prestigious sporting events?
‘We can make this country the most accepting, the most inclusive, the most progressive country on Earth.
The Olympic gold medallist has been picked to do Channel 4’s Alternative Christmas Message
Daley will also highlight the staging of next year’s World Cup in Qatar – who have a poor LGBTQ+ rights record
‘What if in Britain anybody could be anything regardless of where they started? What if we all started from the same place. Now wouldn’t that be something to be proud of?’
Daley, who won Olympic diving gold in Tokyo earlier this year – his first ever at the Games, has been married to American screenwriter Dustin Lance Black, 47, for four years and the couple have one child together.
The 27-year-old will also pay tribute to Canadian footballer Quinn, who became the first time a transgender athlete to compete at the Olympics.
The speech airs opposite the BBC’s broadcast of the Queen’s official annual televised message to the nation, a tradition which has been running since 1993.
The Alternative Christmas Message airs Christmas Day at 5pm on Channel 4 and All 4