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    Right Behind Gay Footballers 

    Friday, September 20, 2013 2:09:02 AM

    Professional Footballers are being asked to wear rainbow laces in their boots this weekend to support a campaign fighting against homophobia in football

    Rainbow laces are expected to be on show this weekend, sets of laces have been sent to all 92 Premier and Football League sides – along with all 42 teams in the Scottish leagues - in the hope of raising awareness of the cause. Gay rights charity Stonewall, backed by bookmaker Paddy Power, want the initiative in the “Right Behind Gay Footballers” campaign to focus on changing attitudes rather than pleading for players to come out. There are no known openly gay footballers in the English and Scottish professional leagues. Former Leeds and United States winger Robbie Rogers retired in February, announcing his sexuality and claiming he could not have continued his career due to the “pack mentality” that changes the way footballers behave. He later reversed his decision to quit the game and signed for the LA Galaxy. Stonewall deputy chief executive Laura Doughty said: “It’s time for football clubs and players to step up and make a visible stand against homophobia in our national game.” Doughty added: “By wearing rainbow laces players will send a message of support to gay players and can begin to drag football into the 21st century.”

    Before Rogers’ revelation, only two footballers had publicly said they were gay. Former England Under-21 international Justin Fashanu was the first professional footballer in Britain to come out, in 1990, before he took his own life eight years later, aged 37. Swedish lower league player Anton Hysen - son of former Liverpool defender Glenn Hysen - also came out in an interview with a Swedish football magazine in 2011.

     

     



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