Football Manager adds players coming out as gay
Football Manager, the favourite computer game of sport-obsessed nerds everywhere, will feature openly gay players.
The popular football club simulator, which is available on PC, revealed the change ahead of the release of its 2018 edition.
There are still no openly gay players in the top tiers of English football, despite attempts by the FA to coax players into coming out.
But that won’t stop Football Simulator from being LGBT-inclusive.
The game’s in-game news ticker, which features randomly-generated events happening to players, will be updated to include a news item on players coming out as gay.
The random event leads to a boost in the club’s revenue, due to “new attention from the LGBT community”.
There will be a number of caveats, however.
Football Manager features a combination of real players and randomly-generated fictional players, known as ‘newgens’.
Speaking to the BBC, the game’s director Miles Jacobson said that only the fictional players would be eligible to come out.
He explained: “[We are] able to do things with these players that we can’t with real players, because they can’t sue us”.
The exec added that the random event will be disabled in most parts of the world.
He said: “We also had to take some legal advice, because in some countries that are less forward-thinking than the UK, it is still illegal to be gay.
“In those cases we have simply respected their laws, so if a player is based in one of those countries, the player won’t come out.”
The justification is surreal, given fictional events surrounding fictional characters in video games are not generally required to “respect” real-life laws.
Fans compared it to Grand Theft Auto removing the ability to commit crimes in countries where it is illegal to steal cars or shoot people.
Speaking to the BBC, Jacobson added: “Part of the reason we decided to do this is because there are gay footballers.
“We know from the amount of professionals that there has to be players who are gay but feel they don’t want to come out.
“I find it weird that it’s still a problem in football so we decided to try and show people that coming out isn’t a big deal and can be a positive thing.
“I just think it’s crazy that in 2017 we are in a world where people can’t be themselves.”
There are currently no openly gay players in the top tiers of English football.
The last player to come out while playing was Justin Fashanu, who came out in 1990 but died by suicide in 1998 after years of homophobic abuse.
Footballer Paul Pogba recently said he’d welcome a gay player in the Premier League.
Asked if a gay player would be welcome in the Premier League, he said: “That’s something that I’ve never seen but why not? It’s a human being.
“What he does in his private life has nothing to do with the player. You just have to respect him. Because he respects you, you respect him. That’s it.
“It’s all about respect. It’s all about equality everywhere in the world. We are all equal when we play football.”
Asked about concerns around the 2018 World Cup in Russia. Fears have been raised about racism at the tournament.
The French player said: “We can play with Chinese people, African guys, French, American, but we’re all equal when we do what we love on the pitch, and that’s the message we want to give to everyone.
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“It’s a big thing, the World Cup, and we all play to win. But there has always been the respect on the pitch and outside the pitch and we hope that nothing is going to happen.”
“Hopefully nothing will happen but we can just talk, help each other, and talk about racism and equality on the pitch. We can’t really do anything about it but give everyone a good message to avoid those things.”
Pogba became the most expensive player in English football history last summer, after Manchester United paid a reported £89 million to sign him.
The former director of a top club recently said that more than 20 football players are gay but scared to come out