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FLUTER, DIE WELT, DEUTSCHE WELLE (Germany), ESPN (USA)

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No name, no club – nothing that would point to his identity – that was what Fluter journalist Adrian Bechtold had to promise a professional Bundesliga soccer player in return for talking about something that is still absolutely taboo in the top soccer league of Germany (and just about any other country): Being gay.

The unnamed player, reports Die Welt, is the first Bundesliga player to talk about what it’s like to fake heterosexuality in public by adopting certain clichéd forms of behavior, denying who he really is, the constant fear of being outed as gay.

The player tells Fluter, a state-run magazine for youths distributed in high schools, that he sacrificed having a private life to soccer. "I was in a relationship, but playing soccer at that level is pure poison for a partnership. So I had to make a choice. Sure, my success as a soccer player is great. But so is the price I’ve paid for living my dream."

German Chancellor Angela Merkel weighed in on the issue , telling the unnamed player he could trust Germany and football fans to understand. “He lives in a country in which he need have no fear of outing himself publicly,” she said.

Merkel said German politics had made a lot of progress to get to a stage at which politicians could be open about their sexuality, reports ESPN. She said however she was well aware that football had not reached that stage yet, explaining: "We have to acknowledge there are still fears when it comes to the social environment in football. We can only give a signal: You need not fear."

At public events, the player said he appears in the company of women friends. He says he knows of other gay Bundesliga players and they "all do the same thing."

“I don’t know whether I will be able to take the constant tension between the model heterosexual player and the possible discovery, until the end of my career,” he said.

No footballer in the professional German leagues has publicly declared himself to be homosexual, says Deutsche Welle.

Bayern Munich president Uli Hoeness said, “Sooner or later some players are bound to out themselves,” adding “I cannot imagine that a gay player would have any problems with our fans. FC Bayern is ready. Society as a whole is further along on this issue than the media suggests.”

This weekend, coincidently, all 18-top flight German soccer clubs will play in special jerseys saying: “Go your own way,” to promote integration and inclusivity, reports Deutsche Welle.

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Geopolitics

Patronage Or Politics? What's Driving Qatar And Egypt Grand Rapprochement

For Cairo, Qatar had been part of an “axis of evil,” with anger directed at Al Jazeera, the main Qatari outlet, and others critical of Egypt after the Muslim Brotherhood ouster. But the vitriol is now gone, with the first ever visit by Egyptian President al-Sisi to Doha.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi met with the Emir of Qatar in June 2022 in Cairo

Beesan Kassab, Daniel O'Connell, Ehsan Salah, Hazem Tharwat and Najih Dawoud

For the first time since coming to power in 2014, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi traveled to Doha last month on an official visit, a capstone in a steadily building rapprochement between the two countries in the last year.

Not long ago, however, the photo-op capturing the two heads of state smiling at one another in Doha would have seemed impossible. In the wake of the Armed Forces’ ouster of the Muslim Brotherhood government in 2013, Qatar and Egypt traded barbs.

In the lexicon of the intelligence-controlled Egyptian press landscape, Qatar had been part of an “axis of evil” working to undermine Egypt’s stability. Al Jazeera, the main Qatari outlet, was banned from Egypt, but, from its social media accounts and television broadcast, it regularly published salacious and insulting details about the Egyptian administration.

But all of that vitriol is now gone.

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