John Fashanu believes politics and football should remain separate

John Fashanu has been slammed by social media users for his comments on the LGBTQ community and the World Cup, saying that fans should respect the laws of Qatar.

The former England player spoke on Good Morning Britain about the issues facing the controversial tournament in the country, where homosexuality is illegal.

It’s one of the most contentious talking points surrounding the event, with a Qatar World Cup ambassador describing homosexuality as “damage in the mind” ahead of the World Cup.

Fashanu gave an interview with the ITV programme on Thursday, saying that politics and football should always be kept separate.

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“The One Love armband, what has that got to do with football… politics and football, we try and keep away from each other,” he said.

He went on to say that country’s FAs shouldn’t have pushed for teams to wear the armbands in the first place.

Fashanu added: “Whatever the rules and regulations are of that country, adhere to them. Some of them might be good, some of them might be bad but respect the country.”

People criticised the comments on social media, with one writing: “Quite an extraordinary assertion. I don’t think anyone is suggesting people shouldn’t respect cultural difference. But we can’t suggest the threat of persecution or execution for basic human rights is something we should ignore. It’s almost comical at this point.”

Another said: “No if you hold an international tournament you should expect to be held to international law and unfortunately for Qatar that means accepting LGBTQ people.”

The former football criticised the One Love armbandGMB/Getty

One more added: “The anger this has made me feel is unreal. The difference between political and humanitarian has been completely lost. And stop discussing LGBTQ+ without one in the room. We aren’t a talking point. We are people. Who just want to live our lives.”

Others pointed out Fashanu’s family history in the comments section. Back in 2015, Fashanu has admitted paying his late brother, Justin Fashanu, £75,000 in a bid to persuade him against coming out to the public as gay.

The former Wimbledon footballer and presenter compared the shock of having his brother Justin come out to the family as like “Hiroshima or Nagasaki on our lives”.

Fashanu, 60, says his family’s unaccepting reaction was a product of prejudiced attitudes towards the LGBT community that were so prevalent at the time.

“You’ve got to remember the public’s perception of homosexuality at that time was that it was an abomination. It was taboo. Street boys were beating up gays in nightclubs.

“I make it very clear: I was wrong. It was ignorance on my behalf. I didn’t understand him. I was trying to protect my family and I was worried about the effect on my career.

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