The niece of late, gay footballer Justin Fashanu claims that she know of at least seven closeted Premier League football players.
Amal Fashanu – daughter of John Fashanu and the niece of the late Justin Fashanu – made the comments whilst being interviewed by BBC Radio.
The documentary maker and fashion designer was being interviewed regarding footballer Adam Johnson – who was last week found guilty of sexual activity with a 15-year-old.
Fashanu claimed the footballing world is “an extremely dark” place, where the behaviour of stars is often kept hidden from the public by clubs.
She went on to discuss gay footballers, saying many feel forced to keep their sexuality a secret.
“It’s like gay footballers. Let’s be real” she told the presenter.
“I know myself of seven footballers, in the Premiership.”
Fashanu said that she would “never out” these players, even if she “felt it would help them”, but did stress it was time for more honesty in the world of football.
A keen LGBT advocate, In 2012, Fashanu presented a BBC documentary on homophobia in football and the life of her uncle Justin.
Justin Fashanu – Britain’s only footballer to come out and continue playing – tragically committed suicide in 1998.
His younger brother John, – Amal’s father – gave an interview a week after he came out titled “my gay brother is an outcast”.
Last year, he revealed he “begged” and “threatened” Justin not to come out.
He compared the revelation by Justin to being “like Hiroshima or Nagasaki on our lives”.
Although he regrets his actions, John says he still does not believe that his brother was gay.
Last week, Arsenal CEO Ivan Gazidis said he is “absolutely convinced that in five years time we will have openly gay players”.
Gazidis believes it is only a matter of time before openly gay players would eventually grace the pitch, because coming out has become a “non-issue” in the dressing room.
Listen to Fashanu’s comments below: