The captain of the England Women’s football squad has said she would like to see the day when men’s football can be just as accepting of gay players as women’s football, emphasising the need for fans of the sport to “get some perspective.”
In an interview with the Guardian on Sunday, 31-year-old Casey Stoney said that male footballers are oppressed in ways that women footballers do not experience.
“There’s a lot the men’s game could learn from the women’s game,” she said.
“You’re not telling me out of 92 league teams (in men’s football) there’s not a single gay player? It’s just the fear. The fear of what fans can do.”
Stoney, who in October joined the Football v Homophobia campaign, said her sexuality has never been an issue for her in her 20-year long career.
She added: “But then there’s not 50,000 people in the stands at our games. Because there’s less people there’s less fear. It’s more accepted.
“Fans need to get some perspective, think about how much of an impact they can have on someone’s life. A footballer is human, with feelings, a family. Fans pay the wages, but at the same time they can make the players’ lives hell.
“I can empathise with male players who don’t want to (come out). But I’d like to see a day when they’re not afraid.”