A former managing director of one of the world’s best-known football clubs has claimed that “a homosexual cannot do the job of a footballer.”
Luciano Moggi, formerly with Juventus, is banned from football until 2011 for his role in a corruption scandal and is on currently on trial.
He was speaking on the KlausCondicio programme on Italian television.
“There are no gays in football,” he claimed.
“I don’t know if players are against having them in their team but I definitely am.
“In the teams where I worked there were never any. I never wanted to have a homosexual player and I still wouldn’t sign one.
“I’m old school but I know the ambience of football and a gay wouldn’t be able to survive within it.
“A homosexual cannot do the job of a footballer.
“The football world is not designed for them, it’s a special atmosphere, one in which you stand naked under the showers.”
His homophobic comments chime with the reality for openly gay professional players – there are currently none.
In April last year Portsmouth goalkeeper David James wrote an article in The Observer querying why gay players do not come out.
Only one has tried so far: Justin Fashanu came out in 1990 and committed suicide in 1998.
A 2006 survey found out that 57% of footballers think that football is homophobic.
Last month Sepp Blatter, President of the Federation of International Football, commented on the issue.
“There are gay footballers, but they don’t declare it because they think it will not be accepted in these macho organisations,” he said.
“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.