A FIFA Women’s World Cup press conference was cut short after a reporter asked the Morocco football captain a question that was “completely out of line”.
During a press conference leading into the FIFA women’s World Cup game between Germany and Morocco on Monday, a BBC World Service reporter asked about the sexuality of players in Morocco’s Atlas Lionesses team.
“In Morocco, it’s illegal to have a gay relationship, do you have any gay players in your squad and what’s life like for them?” the reporter asked Moroccan captain Ghizlane Chebbak.
Chebbak was understandably uncomfortable upon hearing the question.
Vor dem Spiel gegen Deutschland wurde Marokkos Kapitänin Ghizlane Chebbak gefragt, ob es homosexuelle Spielerinnen im Team gibt und wie es ihnen in ergeht – homosexuelle Handlungen sind in Marokko illegal. Eine FIFA-Sprecherin wies die Frage als “politisch” ab.#FIFAWWC #GERMAR pic.twitter.com/olvc9j1Q6b— Deutschlandfunk Sport (@DLF_Sport) July 24, 2023
A FIFA moderator shut down the question and reminded the media that they were at the press conference to discuss football and not politics.
“From a harm reduction perspective, this is not an appropriate question for a player and would have endangered the players themselves,” The Athletic’s Steph Yang said on Twitter.
We are obviously going to talk about the intersection of politics and sports at this World Cup, and it’s vital to do so. But we should take care that our questions don’t cause further harm to those impacted by those very politics.— Steph Yang | Horrible Soccer Goose (@thrace) July 23, 2023
“We are obviously going to talk about the intersection of politics and sports at this World Cup, and it’s vital to do so,” Yang continued.
“But we should take care that our questions don’t cause further harm to those impacted by those very politics.”
Jesus. Time for that reporter to attend some classes on ethics in journalism. Imagine thinking it was acceptable to ask people to risk their freedom/safety like this (not to mention how massively none-of-their-business that question is.)— Gen Williams 🐙 email@example.com 🦣 (@genwilliams) July 23, 2023
Numerous voices in the industry slammed the reporter’s actions, including CBC Sports journalist Shireen Ahmed who said the question was “completely out of line”.
I was at this press conference. The reporter was completely out of line. Harm reduction matters and posing the question to the captain or coach was unnecessary. The question was waved off by a FIFA media officer moderating but it shouldn’t have been asked. https://t.co/csZ0McTq4k— Shireen Ahmed (@_shireenahmed_) July 23, 2023
Ahmed also spoke to the reporter directly.
“The question also reeks of privilege from a journo who should know better. I told him that – emphatically,” Ahmed said,
Ahmed also said that she would be teaching “why understanding context and struggles from marginalized communities matters” in upcoming classes, and journo Molly Appleton called for more diversity in the field to avoid things like this happening.
People who ask why do you need diversity in journalism – this is your answer. So unethical, harmful questions like this aren’t asked. https://t.co/LVY4FVoT3e— Molly Appleton (@mollyappleton93) July 23, 2023
I don’t how or why this reporter thought asking this question was a good idea or appropriate in any way.
Morocco lost to Germany 6-0 in Monday night’s match.