Moroccan captain Ghizlane Chebbak Credit: Deutschlandfunk Sport

The BBC has publicly apologized following an uproar surrounding a reporter’s “inappropriate” question to the captain of the Moroccan women’s national team at the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

Before Morocco’s opening match against German, the reporter, who works for the BBC’s World Service, essentially asked captain Ghizlane Chebbak to out anyone on the roster who is LGBTQ.

“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?” asked the reporter.

The moderator for the press conference jumped in, saying “Sorry, this is a very political question, so we’ll just stick to questions relating to football.”

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

Cehbbak did not answer that question and the press conference ended after one further question.

“We recognize that the question was inappropriate,” a BBC spokesperson told CNN afterward. “We had no intention to cause any harm or distress.”

Per The Athletic’s Steph Yang, who was at the press conference, “Some members of the Moroccan media were audibly dismayed by the question.”

CBS Sports reporter Shireen Ahmed was also present and said that the question was “out of line.”

“Harm reduction matters and posing the question to the captain or coach was unnecessary,” Ahmed wrote. The question was waved off by a FIFA media officer moderating but it shouldn’t have been asked.

“Asking a player about her teammates and whether they are gay and how it affects them when you know it is not permissible is bizarre and out of line. The captain cannot out players nor comment on policy bc [because] it could be dangerous for them, too,” said Ahmed. “If reporting harms someone, it is not only unethical but dangerous.”

According to Human Dignity Trust, “same-sex sexual activity is prohibited under the Penal Code 1962, which criminalizes ‘lewd or unnatural acts’. This provision carries a maximum penalty of three years imprisonment and a fine.”

Morocco, which is appearing in its first Women’s World Cup, went on to defeat Germany 6-0 on Monday.

[CNN, The Athletic]

About Sean Keeley

Along with writing for Awful Announcing and The Comeback, Sean is the Editorial Strategy Director for Comeback Media. Previously, he created the Syracuse blog Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician and wrote 'How To Grow An Orange: The Right Way to Brainwash Your Child Into Rooting for Syracuse.' He has also written non-Syracuse-related things for SB Nation, Curbed, and other outlets. He currently lives in Seattle where he is complaining about bagels. Send tips/comments/complaints to