First black England Footballer: ‘Gay players should not be hiding’

The first black player to represent England in men’s international football has weighed in on Britain’s lack of openly gay players.

Viv Anderson has told the Radio Times that gay players should be able to live openly.

He also said that he believes that it would be ‘naive’ to believe there are no gay footballers, and we are past “the era when I was playing where it was a bit taboo to come out.

“In 2015 I think they should be encouraged to come out and enjoy their careers instead of hiding behind whatever.”

“It would be healthier for them and it would be healthier for everybody connected to just get on with it now and your teammates accept you for what you are.”

He also called for clubs to do more to combat homophobia in football, and for club stewards to treat homophobia the same as they treat racism.

“There’s stewards all over the place now, if there’s any racial taunts they are kicked out of football stadiums.

“I think it is the same if you make any statements about being gay… it may be the same premise should still be abided by.”

Currently there has only ever been two openly gay English players, Justin Fashanu who was paid £75,000 by his brother to not come out and Liam Davis who came out last year.

In stark contrast to English women’s football has seen many openly lesbian players represent their country including Lianne Sanderson and former England captain Casey Stoney.