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- British diver
Olympic gold medalist Tom Daley is delivering Channel 4’s alternative Christmas message this year.
Viewers can expect the champion diver to address homophobia in sport and the absence of openly gay male footballers in the game's top flight.
Daley, 27, will speak about how “incredibly lucky” he feels to have been supported by his sport as a gay man while recognising those in other sports may not feel the same.
In October, Australian footballer Josh Cavallo became the first high level professional male player to come out as gay and Daley will praise his bravery.
— Channel 4 (@Channel4) December 21, 2021
Speaking about the UK in the speech that airs opposite the Queen’s Christmas Day message broadcast to the nation on the BBC, Daley continues: “If I had one Christmas wish, it would be that next year that changes. That one impossibly brave Premier League player steps forward and says, ‘I am gay’.
“That person would inspire gay people everywhere, give hope to thousands of teenagers struggling with their sexuality and save the lives of countless young people who don’t currently feel like they have a place in this world.”
He will add: “In 2022 the World Cup is being held in the second most dangerous country for queer people, Qatar.
“Why are we allowing places that aren’t safe for all fans and all players to host our most prestigious sporting events?”
Watch: Tom Daley details eating disorder struggle
The four-time Olympic medal winner is also due to reflect on representing his country at the Tokyo Olympics earlier this year alongside diving partner Matty Lee, with whom he won gold.
He will also celebrate that the event marked the first time a transgender athlete, Canadian footballer Quinn, competed at the Olympic Games.
Daley applauds the achievements of such athletes “especially in the current climate of fear and panic around trans people”, and add that “there is no LGB without the T”.
Channel 4’s director of programmes Ian Katz said: “Tom Daley’s Olympic triumph made him one of the faces of 2021 and we are delighted that he is using The Alternative Christmas Message as a platform to speak out and raise an issue close to his heart – and ours.
“It is shocking and depressing that that our most popular sporting league remains an environment in which no gay player feels able to openly be themselves and we hope Tom’s message will make a small contribution to changing that.”
Daley, a keen knitter, will be seen accompanied by his wool and needles as he delivers the message.
The Alternative Christmas Message airs on Christmas Day at 5pm on Channel 4 and All 4.
With additional reporting by PA.
Watch: Tom Daley thanks son and husband - and knitting - after winning fourth Olympic medal