Queer football figures claim ‘intense interest’ in players’ lives could be stopping gay and bisexual stars from coming out. The “sensationalised” media coverage of closeted gay and bisexual footballer players is hampering efforts to make the beautiful game that bit more beautiful, warned LGBT+ fans and allies in an open letter published Monday (September 21).

After two anonymous gay players revealed they are wrestling to come out publicly, a letter was organised by Sports Media LGBT, a network group and consultancy that “advocates for inclusion in both our own industry and across sport in general”.

In the letter, the network condemned the media and fans’ “intense interest” in players as one of the reasons why LGBT players may struggle to come out.

“As a group of LGBTQ people and allies with roles in football, we know there are moments when the game can be welcoming for members of our community,” they wrote. The culture of the men’s professional set-up can make it a particularly challenging environment for anyone who is gay or bi.”

“If we are to help LGBT  people in our sport who are struggling to arrive at their own sense of Pride, while also avoid fuelling speculation about who is and isn’t gay or bi, then greater transparency and a more constructive approach is required from the games’ critics.”

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