The head of world football has spoken out about gay men and lesbians in the game.
Sepp Blatter, President of the Federation of International Football, was speaking to journalists ahead of a FIFA board meeting this weekend.
In the past he has suggested that to make the game more exciting the goal be made bigger and women players should wear tighter shorts and more ‘feminine’ clothes.
The 71-year-old Swiss national told The Times:
“There are gay footballers, but they don’t declare it because they think it will not be accepted in these macho organisations.
“But football is open for everybody, which is why they made a gay competition in South America.
“And look at women’s football: homosexuality is more popular there.”
FIFA is the international governing body of football and organises major international tournaments such as the World Cup.
FIFA supported the 2007 Lesbian-Gay World Soccer Championship in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Gay and lesbian teams began to appear almost three decades ago and the International Gay and Lesbian Football Association was formed to act as a governing body for the sport.
The tournament will be held in London later this year.
Leftfooters FC won its bid to host the championship earlier last year after IGLFA officials visited facilities at Regents Park.
Ten 11-a-side pitches and six 7-a-side pitches have been reserved for the event, which is supported by the Football Association, Westminster City Council, gay equality organisation Stonewall, the Mayor of London and Visit London.
Then Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ming Campbell, former sports minister Richard Caborn and Alan Keen MP also backed London’s successful bid.
Click here for more details.