In Brief

Gay Premier League footballer too scared to publicly come out

In a letter via the Justin Fashanu Foundation the player says football has ‘not moved on’

A gay Premier League footballer is too scared to publicly come out because he feels that football has not “moved on” compared to the rest of society. 

In an open letter via the Justin Fashanu Foundation the anonymous player has urged Premier League bosses to help with the discrimination surrounding homosexuality in football, The Sun reports. 

The player has known since he was 14 that he was gay, but despite telling some of his team-mates, he says living a secret life has had a “massive impact” on his mental health. He also says it’s “virtually impossible” to have a relationship.

In the letter he wrote: “Even though society has moved on massively since I was a teenager, the game simply hasn’t. 

“Those running it need to put more measures in place so gay players know they will get the support they need. The powers-that-be are only playing lip service to the issue.” 

Britain’s first £1m black player, Justin Fashanu, was also the first professional footballer to come out as gay in 1990. 

In 1998, at the age of 38, the ex-Norwich City star killed himself. The foundation which takes his name says “issues around his sexuality were at the heart of his problems and there is no question that the prejudice he encountered eventually led to his death”.

His niece Amal Fashanu runs the foundation and the Daily Mail reported in May that it’s offering support to five secretly gay footballers. 

The letter sent by the anonymous Premier League footballer is the second to the foundation after another player revealed in July that he was gay, but was “not ready” to come out, The Sun said. 

Amal Fashanu says the latest player felt a “weight off his shoulders” when reading the first letter earlier this year. She hopes to “put the two in touch to discuss their situations”.

There are no openly-gay male professional footballers in the UK. The Justin Fashanu Foundation says: “It’s a sad reflection of the continuing issues that surround professional football that there is not a single openly gay footballer in the Premier League. 

“This is a situation that defies logic and underlines the fact that [30] years after Justin’s death it is still not considered advisable to be openly gay.”

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