Gay footballer Jake Daniels slams ‘frustrating’ Qatar World Cup and calls out lack of ‘respect’

Blackpool football star Jake Daniels stares at the camera with football uniforms in the background

Gay football pro Jake Daniels has said he’s not happy about the World Cup being held in anti-LGBTQ+ Qatar.

Blackpool FC player Daniels, who came out as gay in May, suggested he would back a boycott of the World Cup in a new interview with Vogue.

He said he’s “not the happiest” about the World Cup being held in Qatar, where homosexuality is punishable by imprisonment, and where queer Muslim men can face death.

“I know [some] people wanted to boycott it, which would have been good, but the World Cup’s massive. If you’re comfortable to go and do it, you do it,” Daniels, 17, said.

“It would frustrate me, because why am I trying to hide my personal life for other people? Like, I’m going to play football for you and you can’t respect how I want to be, so it’s just not what I want to do.”

Jake Daniels was the first pro player in British men’s football to come out as gay since Justin Fashanu in 1990.

Fashanu’s career was cut short by homophobia, which eventually led to his death by suicide. Shortly after Daniels came out, Scottish player Zander Murray followed suit.

Daniels has been playing football since he was three and said he knew he was gay by around five or six years old.

He told Vogue he acknowledges that his coming out has been “inspirational”, but added: “That’s not the label I should have. That’s just my life.

“I want to push the community to get where it should be, especially in football and all sport.”

Jake Daniels thinks gay footballers shouldn’t wait

Contemplating why so few footballers have come out as gay, Jake Daniels referred to the “masculinity side” of the game, lack of role models and the fear of the crowds, which he said remains a main concern for him. 

“I feel like they just want to make the best out of their career, which is why I think a lot of people do it when they’ve retired.

“But I don’t think they should do that, because if you retire at 40 you just lied for 40 years of your life.”

The Qatar World Cup kicks off on Sunday (20 November), amid strong backlash over the country’s record of human rights abuses.

Former footballer David Beckham is facing particular criticism for his multi-million pound deal to act as an ambassador for Qatar.

Comedian Joe Lycett has urged Beckham to drop the deal by Sunday, warning that if he fails to do so, he’ll shred £10,000 in cash.