A former German football manager has said gay men should not play football because they will be ridiculed.

Rudi Assauer’s comments have outraged German gay groups, with the Gay and Lesbian Federation saying they were “beneath contempt”.

The Daily Mail reports that Assauer said: “Perhaps [gays] are okay in other sports but not in football.

“If a player came to me and said he was gay I would say to him: ‘You have shown courage’. But then I would tell him to find something else to do.

“That’s because those who out themselves always end up busted by it, ridiculed by their fellow players and by people in the stands. We should spare them these witch hunts.”

He added that he once told a team masseur to find another job because he was gay.

Assauer, a former player, managed Schalke 04 in the Bundesliga and is currently a player agent.

In the last few months, two major sporting stars have come out. Donal Og Cusack, of Ireland’s Cork hurling team, announced he was gay in October, while Welsh rugby player Gareth Thomas came out in December.

However, there is not one out gay professional footballer in the UK, although some have estimated there are least 12 Premiership footballers in the closet.

Justin Fashanu killed himself in 1998 and remains the only professional footballer to have ever come out as gay.