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Fifa media chief and ex-Sky reporter Bryan Swanson comes out as gay during Infantino’s press conference in Qatar

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FIFA media chief and ex-Sky reporter Bryan Swanson has come out as gay during Gianni Infantino’s press conference in Qatar.

The FIFA president had been launching a staunch defence of the World Cup hosts who have come under sustained criticism in recent days.

PA

Swanson spent several years as Sky Sport News’ chief reporter before moving to FIFA[/caption]

Fans have been in uproar over a sudden u-turn on Qatar’s alcohol policy, which followed far bigger controversies over the country’s stance on human rights and homosexuality.

Swanson sought to defend FIFA over the issue with an impassioned defence of Infantino.

The former Sky Sports Reporter, who joined FIFA as Director of Media Relations in 2021, came out as gay as he looked to calm nerves over the tournament.

He said: “I have seen a lot of criticism of Gianni Infantino since I’ve joined FIFA, particularly from the LGBTI community.

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“I am sitting here in a privileged position, on a global stage, as a gay man, here in Qatar.

“We have received assurances that everyone is welcome and I believe everyone will be welcome in this World Cup.

“Just because Gianni Infantino is not gay does not mean he does not care. He does care.

“You see the public side. I see the private side. We have spoken on a number of occasions about this.


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“I thought long and hard about whether to mention this in this news conference, this after all is a news conference for the FIFA president, but I do feel strongly about it.”

Swanson’s intervention came after Infantino launched an astonishing attack on the “racist” and “hypocritical” west for daring to criticise Qatar.

In an hour-long diatribe that left a room of international reporters open-mouthed in disbelief, the Swiss told European critics they were deliberately misrepresenting the host nation.

He said: “This criticism is profoundly unjust.

“You don’t start accusing, fighting, insulting. You start engaging.

“We have heard many moral lessons from Europe and the western world.

“But for what we Europeans have done over the past 3,000 years we should apologise for the next 3000 years before starting to give moral lessons here.

“Reform and change takes time. It took hundred of years in Europe. 

“The only way to compare results is by engaging and dialogue, not by hammering and insults.”

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On gay fans being welcome to the tournament, Infantino said: “I can confirm that everyone is welcome. I have had this conversation several times.

“Anyone who says the opposite, it is not the opinion of the country or of Fifa. 

“Everyone who comes to Qatar must be welcome and is welcome. Whatever religion, race, sexual orientaton. 

“That is our requirement and the Qatari state will stick to that.

“You will tell me there is legislation here, you can go to jail for being gay. 

“But that legislation exists in many countries. It was there in Switzerland in 1954 when they organised the World Cup.

“Yes, you can say that it is bad that it is not allowed to be publicly gay. Of course I believe it should be allowed but I went through a process.”

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