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24th Apr 2024

Group of footballers set to come out as gay on the same day next month, according to reports

Charlie Herbert

Group of footballers set to come out as gay on the same day next month, according to reports

Five Bundesliga clubs are supporting the move

A group of professional footballers in Germany are planning on coming as gay on the same day next month, according to a report.

Peiner Allgemeine Zeitung (PAZ) reports that the players will collectively come out on May 17 – the International Day Against Homophobia – as part of an initiative in Germany aimed at encouraging players and people working in football to come out.

The initiative has been set up by Marcus Urban, a former pro footballer who is gay.

Speaking about the plan, he said: “May 17th is an offer, a date that you could use as a guide and get together as a group.” 

Bundesliga clubs Borussia Dortmund, Union Berlin, FC St. Pauli, SC Freiburg and VfB Stuttgart have all signed up to the initiative and are supporting the project

The planned group outing is called ‘Sports Free’, and will see players, referees, coaches and others within the club have the chance to reveal their sexuality via an online platform.

They can do this however they choose to, whether that be with pictures, videos, just text, alone or with a partner.

A documentary called ‘Hide and Seek’ will also be released, which follows the individual processes of players.

The aim is for this to be a turning point in normalising homosexuality in professional football.

It comes 10 years on from Thomas Hitzlsperger coming out. At the time, it was hoped that the former Aston Villa midfielder’s decision would encourage others to follow suit.

But currently there are only four openly gay active professional players in the world: Collin Martin (San Diego Loyal), Josh Cavallo (Adelaide United), Jake Daniels (FC Blackpool) and Jakub Jankto (Cagliari Calcio).

This is despite the fact that an estimated five to 10 per cent of the world’s population are gay.

Sports psychiatrist Tobias Freyer told PAZ: “Around professional football there is still this habitus that the sport is associated with very masculine characteristics, fight, dominance, strength, aggressiveness.

“It is no coincidence that homosexuality is still a huge taboo in male professional football, while it has always been a part of female professional football.”

Urban doesn’t want the initiative to solely impact football though. The offer to come out as gay on May 17 is open to all professional athletes, and will tell stories of players from basketball, rugby and cricket, some of whom came out decades ago.

“The footballers will see that they are just a small building block in a big game,” Urban said.

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