PL chief: Time is right for gay footballers to go public

Date published: Thursday 19th November 2015 10:48 - Ian Watson

Richard Scudamore Premier League

Gay footballers would be treated with respect if they were to go public about their sexuality, Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore has said.

The Daily Mirror has reported that two top-flight players are set to come out with the support of their clubs and Scudamore is confident the reaction would be positive.

“The environment would be entirely suitable for them to come out,” he told BBC Newsnight.

“It would be welcomed and I think there would be a tolerance to it. I think the time would be right to do that.”

Scudamore added he was “absolutely sure” there were gay players in the league, saying: “It would be very strange if there wasn’t.”

Justin Fashanu was the last openly gay player in the English game, with former Aston Villa midfielder Thomas Hitzlsperger coming out after his retirement in 2014.

Last year Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said it was unlikely a player would come out during their career because of the media scrutiny they would face.

“Because of media interest, maybe no one will come out,” said Wenger in May 2014.

“He could not come out during his career which means we still have some progress to make in our game.”

Asked about Scudamore’s comments at his press conference on Thursday morning, Wenger said: “I believe when you watch a football player you don’t know, you don’t want to know what his sexuality is. What you want to see is a football player, no matter what he is in his private life.

“It has become more tolerant towards that situation. I wouldn’t like to say it’s perfect, but certainly better than 10 years ago.”

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