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Commonwealth Games could boycott homophobic countries

The Commonwealth Games may consider boycotting countries that persecute LGBTIQA+ people, among a range of changes intended to make the events more inclusive.

Next year’s Games in Birmingham may also be the first to allow athletes to fly the rainbow flag on the podium.

Commonwealth Games Federation chief executive Katie Sadleir said that she wanted to hear the views of athletes on whether they wanted future Games to go ahead in countries that persecute LGBTIQA+ people, Pink News has reported.

“We’re very open to them in terms of what our next steps are, in terms of understanding our hosting strategy and where we go in terms of our meetings,” said Sadleir.

“But this is the beginning, and I’m looking forward to hearing about what more we should be doing as a movement.”

Athletes have spoken out against countries with homophobic laws hosting major sporting events.

Footballer Josh Cavallo spoke last month of his fears about the 2022 FIFA World Cup being held in Qatar, where homosexuality is criminalised.

British diver Tom Daley told the Attitude Awards earlier this year that he would make it his mission to have countries that criminalise LGBTIQA+ people banned from the Olympic Games.

“[There are] 10 countries that punish being gay with death that were still allowed to compete at the Olympic Games,” said Daley, who also criticised FIFA for allowing Qatar to host the World Cup.

Sadlier said that the Commonwealth Games Federation is “absolutely embracing that people can have freedom of expression”.

The possible move to allowing athletes to fly the pride flag would follow the International Olympic Committee’s decision this year to relax restrictions to allow them to “express their views” before and after events.

This year’s Olympic Games in Tokyo included more openly LGBTIQA+ athletes than ever, including the first openly trans and non-binary athletes.

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