English FA In Contact With Three Players About Coming Out As G.ay – MP
Three players are in discussions with the English Football Association about coming out as G.ay, MP John Nicolson has said.
The last male professional player to come out in England was Justin Fashanu in 1990. He committed suicide aged 37 in 1998.
But speaking during a Department of Culture, Media and Sport hearing into homophobia in sport, Scottish National Party MP Nicolson is quoted as saying by BBC Sport: “I understand three players are in talks with the FA about coming out and they haven’t done so yet.”
FA chairman Greg Clarke told MPs in October that Premier League players would suffer “significant abuse” if they opted to come out.
Nicolson says Clarke has since been invited to present an action plan to MPs as his comments that an openly G.ay player would suffer from discrimination were “not good enough.”
Sports minister Tracey Crouch said at the hearing that Clarke’s comments were “incredibly disappointing” and “strange,” while adding that “there has never been a better time” to come out.
“If someone were to decide to come out, they should feel like they are being supported by the authorities and that any abuse would be tackled,” Crouch said.
Former Germany international Thomas Hitzlsperger became the first player to have played in the Premier League to come out in January 2014 — but only after he had retired.
Former England women’s captain Casey Stoney, meanwhile, became the first active player to reveal they are G.ay in England since Fashanu in February 2014.