One of the United Nations’ top diplomats has called for gay players at the World Cup to declare their sexuality.

UN Human Rights Commissioner Navi Pillay appealed to players to help make gay, lesbian and bisexual people accepted around the world.

Speaking at a UN sport equality event Pilllay said: “I encourage players, sports people to declare their sexual orientation without fear.”

“That’s the only way they will find the right to sexual orientation accepted. They are role models, it’s important to send this message to their fans as well.”

“There’s an increasing realisation that combatting discrimination requires more than superficial measures that do not change attitudes or address the root causes of inequality,”

Former Leeds United player Robbie Rogers and former German international Thomas Hitzlsperger came out as gay last year.

Recently LGBT charity Stonewall asked fans in an anonymous poll if they would be ‘comfortable’ with a gay player in their national team.

73% of those polled in the UK said they would be comfortable with a gay international.

Germany and the USA were the least comfortable with the idea of a gay player in their national team, with only 53% and 52% of respondents welcoming homosexual footballers.