A new documentary which will air later this month on BBC Three will cover the issue of homosexuality and football and why, at the present time, there are no openly gay professional footballers in the UK.
It has often been said that having openly gay professional footballers would provide good role models for young teens who themselves are coming to terms with their sexuality. The fact that, at the present time, there are no such openly gay, or bisexual, players is often attributed to fears over their careers. It is a widely held belief that players have not come out because they fear doing so would end their professional careers.
Footballer Justin Fashanu came out as gay in the early 1990s and suffered abuse because of it; he later committed suicide. Britain’s Gay Footballers, the BBC Three documentary, will be presented by Amal Fashanu, the niece of Justin Fashanu, and will explore the issues holding back players from coming out.
The documentary will also cover claims that there are gay and bisexual players in the profession who are still in the closet. The press have, at times, reported such rumours regarding some players who have often been quick to deny the claims and in some cases take legal action over them. Publicity Max Clifford has spoken several times before of how gay players have turned to him to help them keep their sexuality a secret.
A recent survey found that the majority of fans would welcome openly gay players. The poll by Pink Paper also found that many believed clubs and agents were responsible for keeping any gay players in the closet. Sport in general has few openly gay professionals though in recent years there have been several highprofile sportsmen who have come out such as Rugby players Gareth Thomas, Jed Hooper and referee Nigel Owens as well as cricketer Steven Davies and Swedish footballer Anton Hysen.
Britain’s Gay Footballers: BBC Three, Monday 30th January at 9pm.