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Tom Daley to give Channel 4's Alternative Christmas Day Message

The Olympic gold medallist will deliver a message of inclusion on Christmas Day.

2021-12-21

Words: Alastair James; pictures: Channel 4

Tom Daley will say that his Christmas wish this year is that 2022 is the year we see change in football and sport, which would allow professional footballers here the ability to feel they can come out.

The Olympic gold medallist is giving Channel 4’s Alternative Christmas Message which airs on Christmas Day this year and will focus on inclusivity in sport and in general. 

Tom is also going to share the pride he’s felt at representing his country but how sometimes didn’t feel good enough.

"That person would inspire gay people everywhere"

Revealing that he has been "incredibly lucky" to have the support he has as an openly gay athlete, Tom will acknowledge it isn't the same for everyone. 

Applauding Josh Cavallo, who in October became the world's first openly gay active professional footballer to come out, Tom will say it highlights the sport's culture and the need for change.

"If I had one Christmas wish it would be that next year that changes," Tom is due to say, "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."

Referencing the 2022 World Cup being held in Qatar, where homosexuality is illegal and punishable with up to three years in prison (or death under Sharia law) the diver will question "why are we allowing places that aren’t safe for ALL fans and ALL players to host our most prestigious sporting events?"

Speaking at the 2021 Virgin Atlantic Attitude Awards in October, Tom announced his plans to lead a campaign to get countries that carry the death penalty for homosexuality banned from the Olympics. He's also been critical of countries taking part in the Commonwealth Games that do the same. 

Tom will recognise the progress that has been made in sport, with this year's Tokyo Olympics being the most LGBTQ inclusive ever and seeing athletes such as the Canadian footballer, Quinn, the first out trans Olympic medallist to win gold.  

Tom will close with a call for inclusivity and equality saying, "We can make this country the most accepting, the most inclusive, the most progressive country on Earth. What if in Britain anybody could be anything regardless of where they started?

"What if we all started from the same place. Now wouldn’t that be something to be proud of?" 

The Alternative Christmas Message, Christmas Day, 5 pm on Channel 4 and All 4.

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