American reality star Caitlyn Jenner — who was known as Bruce Jenner before coming out as a trans woman in 2015 and undergoing a sex change — has decided to pledge her support to the host nation, because the bookmaker Paddy Power has vowed to donate £10,000 (about R177 270) to LGBT causes for every goal Russia manage to score.
In a video posted on her Twitter account, Caitlyn - who won a gold medal in the decathlon at the 1976 Olympics - explained: "Hi everybody, Caitlyn Jenner here. I bet you're wondering at this year's World Cup, who am I going to be cheering for? Well, the answer is Russia. No, I haven't gone crazy. In fact, in my old Olympic days, the Russians were the ones I wanted to beat, and in fact did.
"So why am I cheering for Russia? Well, for every goal they score, Paddy Power is donating £10,000 to LGBT causes. Now, I think this is great. Russia, being one of the most anti-LGBT countries in the world is now going to be supporting the community. So, let's get our Russia on this year, cheer for them at the World Cup and help support Paddy Power and the community. Hopefully, we can raise a lot of money."
I’m now a Russia fan! To find out why, check out my video below for @paddypower and then you can show support too via #RainbowRussians COME ON RUSSIA!” #ad For more information, check out: https://t.co/zEEHBeykFL pic.twitter.com/reGGbYRJxm— Caitlyn Jenner (@Caitlyn_Jenner) June 13, 2018
Caitlyn - whose home country of America has failed to qualify for the upcoming tournament - captioned her video message: "I'm now a Russia fan! To find out why, check out my video below for @paddypower and then you can show support too via #RainbowRussians COME ON RUSSIA! (sic)"
Paddy Power's campaign has been organised in partnership with Attitude magazine's Foundation, with the overarching ambition being to challenge prejudice on and off the soccer field.
Other celebrity backers include Christopher Biggins and Louie Spence.