So, anyway, says Paul Elliott, who played for Celtic, Chelsea and Aston Villa during his 12-year career, who was speaking at an event called “Homophobia: Football’s Final Taboo”, hosted by the UK’s Football Association at its central London headquarters. He claims to know around a dozen gay footballers.
The online Pink News says that Elliott, who now works as an adviser to the Equality and Human Rights Commission, “said gay players do not come out because they fear the reaction of fans”.
Kick It Out, the organisation dedicated to removing prejudice from football, yesterday launched a new campaign.
Professional footballers will link up with schools, universities, community and youth centres, for a nationwide stand against discrimination and for diversity. More than 1,000 events and activities are scheduled to take place.
At last night’s event gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell said: “I would like to see the FA organise a dozen Premier League straight players to condemn homophobia in a MTV-style video. Straight voices are likely to have the strongest impact on homophobic fans.”
One of the UK’s most celebrated gay footballers was Justin Fashanu, who committed suicide in 1998.