The new Executive Director of the Commonwealth Games Federation has said she wants to meet with Tom Daley to discuss her concerns over the illegality of homosexuality in half of the countries participating in Birmingham next year.
In her first major intervention since taking office at CGF last month, Katie Sadleir expressed her determination to make the 2022 Commonwealth Games the most inclusive in history.
While homosexuality is still illegal in 36 of the 72 countries that will be in Birmingham, Sadleir has made it clear that she wants the Games to be a safe space for LGBTQ + people, and has hinted that it could go so far as to allow athletes to stand on the podium in support of the community.
A Pride House in Birmingham, which aims to be a safe space for gay spectators, athletes and officials, has already been announced. Next week, CGF will also unveil the Commonwealth Sport Pride Network on Rainbow Laces Day, with the aim of supporting and connecting LGBTQ + people at the Games and celebrating the impact they have had on sport. .
Sadleir is also keen to meet with Daley, who has been particularly supportive of the need to get tough with Commonwealth countries that ban homosexuality, to see what else the CGF can do.
“I can meet Tom and we can create an opportunity to raise issues in a safe environment,” she said. “What I can’t do is go to the countries and change their laws at this point.
“We don’t set the rules for all countries, but what we do is create a platform to discuss things that we think are important. We worked on the concept of a pride house to create a safe space where athletes can come to discuss issues and raise the profile of the community.
Sadleir also suggested that athletes would have more freedom to protest at the Commonwealth Games compared to the Tokyo Olympics. “We’re probably in a little different space from the IOC,” she said. “Our Athletes’ Commission has been working on the development of a strategic framework for the defense of athletes, which will be released in January.
Daley has regularly used his platform to suggest that the Commonwealth should do more to support LGBTQ + rights. Speaking after winning gold at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast – when homosexuality was illegal in 37 participating countries – he said: “You want to feel comfortable in who you are when you are standing on this diving board and for 37 Commonwealth countries. who participate here, this is not the case.
“I think that with the Commonwealth, we can really help push some of the other nations to relax their anti-gay stuff laws.”