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Why are there no openly gay footballers? MPs launch inquiry into homophobia in sport

Nick Duffy April 5, 2016
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MPs have launched an inquiry into homophobia in sport.

Parliament’s Culture, Media and Sport select committee announced the inquiry this week – following on from an inquiry addressing the issue of tackling racism.

There are currently no openly gay footballers in the top tier of UK football. The CEO of Premiership team Arsenal recently said he is “absolutely convinced” players will come out in the near future – but so far none have been willing to come forward.

The investigation will look at a range of issues – including the response to homophobia in sports, the experiences of gay sportspeople, and how homophobia is being tackled at school.

A call for evidence says: “The previous Culture, Media and Sport Committee conducted an inquiry on Racism in Football – a key conclusion of which was that homophobia was identified as emerging as a bigger problem than other forms of discrimination.

“With this in mind, the Culture, Media and Sport Committee is holding an inquiry to examine the issue of homophobia specifically, and to take into account a broader range of sports beyond football.

“It is notable that there are currently no openly gay footballers in Scotland and England’s professional divisions and homophobic abuse remains commonplace at matches and online. It is also the case that abusive posts are sent to football players on social media once every 2.6 minutes.

“The Committee would also like to hear opinions on why sportspeople – often lauded as role models – are fearful of being open about their sexuality.

“Furthermore, taking into consideration the suicide rates among gay teenage boys (the demographic group with the highest rate of suicide in the country) the Committee would like to hear about how homophobia in sport feeds into a wider social context.”

Tory MP Jesse Norman, who chairs the committee, said: “Sport is hugely important to many people, but it is clear that homophobia remains a serious issue across a wide range of British sports.

“The Committee intends to examine why this is so and what can be done to address it. We are particularly interested in looking at the possible differences between sports, and sports governing bodies, and between the experiences of sportsmen and sportswomen.”

Click here to submit evidence.

Related topics: football, Gay, Homophobia, LGBT, Sexuality, sport

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