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Nearly half of British football fans believe it is unlikely that male players will reveal their homosexuality in near future

Fourty-five per cent of British football fans believe that it has become less likely for a male player to reveal they are gay in the near future, as per a YouGov study. The study examined fans’ perceptions of homophobia in professional football in the five biggest footballing nations in Europe – Britain, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain.

May 17 announcement planned

YouGov conducted a study on the backdrop of the plans in Germany for several male professional players to reveal they are homosexual on May 17. The reason for the planned announcement on this date is because May 17 is International Day Against Homophobia.

British football fans
Since 2017, English clubs have displayed rainbow colours on corner flags, as well as players wearing rainbow laces – Photo by Icon Sport

It has been reported that some of the players are “hesitant”, but if it goes ahead as planned, it will be a landmark day in football. There are only six known gay professional footballers across the world, with two of the players playing for top-division clubs in their respective countries.

Questions asked in the YouGov study

There were various questions included in the study, including the following:

  • “How widespread do football fans in Europe see homophobia as being in professional football?
  • “How big a problem do football fans in Europe see homophobia as being within the sport?
  • “Do football fans in Europe think the situation with homophobia has gotten better or worse in the last 10 years?
  • “How does homophobia compare to other discrimination issues in football?
  • “How do concerns about homophobia compare to concerns about other forms of discrimination in professional football across Europe?
  • “How do football fans in Europe think people will react to male footballers revealing their sexuality?
  • “What do football fans in Europe think are the biggest reasons that gay male footballers have not revealed their sexuality?”

British football fans believe it is less likely football players will reveal they are homosexual

YouGov UK conducted a study in 2022 following the announcement by Blackpool player Jake Daniels that he was gay. One of these questions asked to British football fans was: “How likely do football fans in Europe think it is that male footballers will reveal their sexuality in the next 12 months?”

Sixty-eight per cent of British fans (68%) said they thought this was likely. However, since Daniels’ announcement in May 2022, only one footballer called Zander Murray of Scottish club Gala Fairydean Rovers has revealed he is gay. The same question was posed to British fans in 2024, with differing results. This time, only 45% of fans believed that it was likely that a player will come out as homosexual “any time soon”.


Will Murray

Freelance football journalist. Experience writing for When Saturday, Comes, Goalkeeper.com, Elite Scholars and Total Football Analysis. Recently finished an MA in Sport Journalism at the University of Brighton. Long-time season ticket holder at the two-time European Champions Nottingham Forest.

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