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13th Dec 2016

Three gay footballers in talks with FA over coming out, MP claims

Discussions are ongoing.


Three footballers could soon become the first active men’s players to come out as gay since Justin Fashanu in 1990.

John Nicolson, Member of Parliament for East Dunbartonshire, revealed in a Department of Culture, Media and Sport hearing into homophobia in sport that the trio were in conversation with the Football Association about their respective decisions, the BBC reports.

A number of prominent female players have come out during their careers, including members of the England and United States national teams, but the last male Premier League player to do so – Thomas Hitzlsperger – waited until after his career had finished.

At present, the highest-profile gay male footballer is LA Galaxy’s Robbie Rogers, who announced his retirement at the same time he came out, but has since returned to the game, while Swedish lower-league player Anton Hysén is the most recent player to come out while remaining active in the sport at a professional level.

Bosnia and Herzegovina v England: UEFA Women's European Championship QualifierFormer England women’s captain Casey Stoney is one of the highest-profile gay footballers currently playing at the top level (Srdjan Stevanovic/Getty Images)

“I understand three players are in talks with the FA about coming out and they haven’t done so yet…It’s good to know that you’re encouraging people to come out,” Nicolson said.

While FA chairman Greg Clarke has suggested in the past that it would be “impossible” for gay players to come out due to the level of abuse likely to come their way, current pundit and former Premier League winning player Chris Sutton has said there has “never been a better time” for it.

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