Casey Stoney: I can understand the fears of footballers who don’t come out

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Former England women’s captain Casey Stoney has said that she understands why no male football players have come out.

The player, who came out as gay in February, told the Soccerex Global Convention in Manchester that attitudes in men’s football are different to the “really positive” reaction when she came out.

She said: “If you look at the statistics, it beggars belief there is no gay player in the 5,000 that play the [men’s] game.

“A male dressing room is very different to a female dressing room, male terraces are very different to female terraces.

“As a male player, when there are 50,000 people sitting in stands wanting to do anything to make you play bad – I can understand their fears.

“I think it could take one person to make that brave step, that could open up the floodgates for other people, but it has to be something they are ready to do.

“I think football is so far behind society. That is a really sad thing, that there is homophobia in football. If there wasn’t, I think we would have seen a gay male player by now.

“Fortunately women’s football doesn’t really suffer from homophobia. That is really positive, that women’s football is in line with society. We need to get men’s football there too.”

Stoney is currently expecting twins with her partner Megan Harris.