Kick homophobia out of football

Manuel Quintanar with Paco Ramírez -

LGBT association COLEGAS is working with the Professional Football League (LFP) in an effort to kick homophobia out of Spanish football.

In an effort to bring a sense of fair play to football stadiums throughout the country, COLEGAS President Paco Ramírez met with the LFP’s Director of Integrity Manuel Quintanar.

The pair discussed the problem of homophobic insults and discrimination which plagues football pitches at both a local and national level.

In a statement, Ramírez said: “It’s estimated that between 8 and 10 per cent of professional footballers are gay, and Spain’s international championing of LGBT rights contrasts sharply with the fact that openly gay footballers simply do not exist.

“In other countries this is changing, and so it is obvious that something is going wrong between Spanish football and the acceptance of a player’s sexual orientation.

“Spanish football needs to make an effort to begin the process of sexual tolerance within the game, and allow players to come out of the closet without fearing for repercussions in their professional careers.

“It is unacceptable to us that within stadiums, homophobic insults are not sanctioned to the same degree as racial ones.”

Historically, gay athletes have always chosen to come out when their professional career was at or nearing its end, for fear that their sexual orientation would be detrimental to their advancement within the sport.

American footballer Michael Sam became the first publicly gay man to be given a contract with the NFL after he came out in February 2014.

Speaking on the LFP’s commitment to stamping out discrimination of all shapes and forms from Spanish football, Quintanar said: “The LFP attended UEFA’s recent conference on respect and diversity within football, and we are committed to promote diversity at all levels of the game.”

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