June 24, 2024

The BBC apologizes for the reporter’s ‘inappropriate’ question to the captain of the Moroccan women’s team

Women’s World Cup 2023: Live scores, fixtures, results, tables and top scorers


The BBC apologized for an “inappropriate” question one of its reporters asked the captain Morocco women’s national team.

At a media conference ahead of Morocco Women’s World Cup Against Germany, a reporter from the British news organization World Service asked Ghizlane Chebbak: “In Morocco, it is illegal to have a gay relationship. Are there any gay players in your squad and what is their life like in Morocco?”

The moderator of the press conference interrupted, saying: “Sorry, this is a very political question, so we will only stick to football related questions.”

“No, it’s not political,” replied the journalist. “It’s about people, it has nothing to do with politics. Please let her answer the question.”

A BBC spokesperson told CNN: “We recognize that the question was inappropriate. We had no intention of causing any harm or distress.”

There was one more question before the press conference ended.

According to Human Rights Watch, “Moroccan law also criminalizes what it refers to as ‘sexually biased’ acts between members of the same sex. Article 489 of the penal code punishes same-sex relations with prison terms of up to three years and fines of up to 1,000 dirhams ($91).”

Steph Yang of the Gael Athletic Association, who was in the room, said that “certain members of the Moroccan media were very pleased with the issue.”

Shireen Ahmed, a CBC Sports reporter who was also in the room, wrote that the reporter was “completely offline.”

“There was no need for injury reduction and there was no need to ask the captain or the coach,” she said.

“It’s weird and out of line to ask a player about their teammates and if they’re gay and how it affects them when you know it’s not allowed. The captain cannot let players off or comment on bc policy [because] it could be dangerous for them, too,” Ahmed wrote.

“If reporting harms someone, it is not only unethical but dangerous.”

FIFA and the Moroccan Football Federation did not immediately respond to CNN’s request for comment.

Morocco kicked off their 2023 Women’s World Cup campaign with an emphatic 6-0 win over Germany on Monday.

World soccer governing body FIFA is sanctioning a variety of different sleeve bands which highlights a “range of social causes” to be thrown at the Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

During the competition, each team captain is allowed to wear an armband chosen from eight different social causes, including gender equality, inclusion and peace.

The Women’s World Cup armbands do not specifically mention LGBTQ rights, outside of the themes of “gender equality” and “inclusion”.

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