Colombian soccer association president Alvaro Gonzalez, who recently called homosexuality “a disease,” has been named Best Sports Leader of 2011 by the Colombian Association of Sports Journalists and Broadcasters (Acord) awards.
The award, to a man who said there was “no worse illness” than being gay and also defended disgraced former national coach Hernan Dario Gomez after he allegedly assaulted a woman outside a bar, has caused much controversy, reported local media Friday.
The president of the Division Aficionada del Futbol Colombiano (Difutbol) was quoted in January as saying, “There is nothing else which is more likely to infect, there is no worse illness, if it can be called such, with respect to those who suffer from it, than homosexuality” was recognized for his sterling achievements in the sporting world.
It is not the first time that the soccer official has made homophobic remarks. Responding to sexual assault accusations against Oscar Ruiz last January, Gonzalez claimed that, “In order to be a referee in Colombia, you have to be gay” — implying that gay senior referees were forcing aspiring youngsters to engage in sexual activity to further their career.
Acord’s president said Gonzalez’s achievements, and what he had brought to the Manizales and Caldas teams, could not be overshadowed by his opinions, adding that his name had been selected last December, before the association knew about his position on homosexuality.