The former owner of a Major League Baseball team in Pittsburgh, has come out as gay, saying that homophobic slurs meant that he kept his sexuality a secret in the past.

Kevin McClatchy, 49, owner and CEO of the Pittsburgh Pirates from 1996-2007, came out as gay in an interview with the New York Times, and said he thought the time was right to come out.

He criticised the baseball industry for not moving quickly enough towards a time when more players could be open about their sexuality.

He said, “You’re not going to solve any problem until you start a dialogue, and there’s no dialogue right now.”

“I’ve got a birthday coming up where I’m turning old,” he said, “I’ve spent 30 years, or whatever the number is specifically, not talking about my personal life, lying about my personal life.”

“This has been challenging to me,” he said “I probably didn’t sleep as well as I could have last night.”

He also talked about the end of racial segregation in baseball, and said people in baseball do not compare that to gay players coming out:

“I don’t think they equate breaking the color barrier with Jackie Robinson to, ‘Hey, by the way, we’ve never had one player announce they’re gay while playing baseball.’ ”

Mr McClatchy is not the first ex-major league boss to come out, last year Rick Welts, president and CEO of US basketball team, Phoenix Suns, revealed he was gay, saying he wanted to break down one of the last social barriers in sport.

Last week in Major League Baseball, Canadian baseball player, Yunel Escobar, was forced to apologise, and was suspended without pay, for causing offence through having what was perceived as a homophobic slur, written on his face during a match.