The Premier League have held discussions with Qatar-owned beIN Sports following an anti-gay rant by pundit and former Egypt international Mohamed Aboutrika on one of its shows.
Aboutrika spoke for two uninterrupted minutes about the Rainbow Laces initiative in the league, criticising it and LGBTQ+ players several times.
He said that homosexuality was an affront to the Muslim religion and made it clear that he wanted the sports channel to avoid showing any pro-LGBT+ content.
“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,” a Premier League spokesperson told ESPN.
Many LGBTQ+ groups have expressed unhappiness at the fact the World Cup is being hosted in Qatar where homosexuality is illegal.
“As a global media group we represent, champion and support people, causes and interests of every single background, language and cultural heritage across 43 hugely diverse countries, as we show every day,” beIN Sports said in a statement.
The segment has been criticised by several LGBTQ+ groups on social media.
“So disappointing to see Egyptian legend Mohamed Aboutrika dismissing the Premier League’s rainbow laces campaign and using theological positions to do so. No challenge from beIN Sports — he was given space to deny the rights and existence of a community,” the European football equality network Fare said on Twitter.
ESPN has reached out to LGBTQ+ rights group Stonewall and the Rainbow Laces campaign for comment.