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BBC apologise for reporter's 'inappropriate' question to Morocco captain at Women's World Cup

BBC apologise for reporter's 'inappropriate' question to Morocco captain at Women's World Cup

The BBC reporter's question to Morocco captain Ghizlane Chebbak was shut down by a Fifa moderator.

The BBC has issued an apology after one of its reporters asked Morocco captain Ghizlane Chebbak an “inappropriate” question about gay players at the Women’s World Cup.

Ahead of Monday's Group H clash between Morocco and Germany in Melbourne, a journalist from the BBC’s World Service asked Chebbak: “In Morocco, it’s illegal to have a gay relationship. Do you have any gay players in your squad and what’s life like for them in Morocco?”

The question was quickly shut down by a FIFA moderator, who said: “Sorry, this is a very political question, so we’ll just stick to questions relating to football," but the journalist hit back, saying: “No, it’s not political, it’s about people, it’s got nothing to do with politics. Please let her answer the question.”

Same-sex relationships in Morocco can lead to prison terms of up to three years and fines, and after footage of the press conference incident emerged online, many called out the question that could have impacted Chebbak teammate's safety back home.

You can watch that question from the press conference below:

Since the incident took place on Sunday, the BBC have apologised through a statement. "We recognise that the question was inappropriate," they said. "We had no intention to cause any harm or distress.”

As you can see from the footage above, a disappointed Chebbak brushed off the question as Moroccan media in attendance expressed their shock at the questioning.

Steph Yang, who works for The Athletic, commented on the incident, saying: "One reporter here asked directly if there are gay players on the Moroccan squad, given same-sex relationships are illegal in Morocco.

"From a harm reduction perspective, this is not an appropriate question for a player and would have endangered the players themselves.

"We are obviously going to talk about the intersection of politics and sports at this World Cup, and it's vital to do so. But we should take care that our questions don't cause further harm to those impacted by those very politics."

Image credit: Twitter/@DLF_Sport
Image credit: Twitter/@DLF_Sport

Others have also publicly criticised the question. CBS reporter Shireen Ahmed, who was also present at Sunday's press conference, said: "I was at this press conference. The reporter was completely out of line.

"Harm reduction matters and posing the question to the captain or coach was unnecessary. The question was waved off by a FIFA media officer moderating but it shouldn't have been asked."

Nubia, who is the host of US podcast Shea Butter FC, also said: "This is why we plead for diversity in sports media, but also why we shout needing to diversify yourself... learn empathy and decorum along the way. This is unacceptable."

Nick Miller of The Athletic added: "That anyone thought it was acceptable to even ask this question is astonishing."

Morocco's women's team suffered a 6-0 defeat to Germany in their World Cup opener as goals from Alexandra Popp [2], Klara Buhl, Hanane Ait El Haj [OG], Yasmin Mrabet [OG], and Lea Schuller sealed all three points for Martina Voss-Tecklenburg's side.

Featured Image Credit: Twitter/@DLF_Sport

Topics: Morocco, Germany, Womens Football, Womens World Cup