Manchester United star Paul Pogba says he’d welcome a gay player in Premier League

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Footballer Paul Pogba has said he’d welcome a gay player in the Premier League.

The Manchester United midfielder was speaking at the launch of UEFA’s RESPECT campaign, which aims to promote diversity in the sport.

Asked if a gay player would be welcome in the Premier League, he said: “That’s something that I’ve never seen but why not? It’s a human being.

Related: Why are there no gay footballers in the Premier League?

“What he does in his private life has nothing to do with the player. You just have to respect him. Because he respects you, you respect him. That’s it.

“It’s all about respect. It’s all about equality everywhere in the world. We are all equal when we play football.”

Asked about concerns around the 2018 World Cup in Russia. Fears have been raised about racism at the tournament.

Paul Pogba

Paul Pogba (Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images)

The French player said: “We can play with Chinese people, African guys, French, American, but we’re all equal when we do what we love on the pitch, and that’s the message we want to give to everyone.

“It’s a big thing, the World Cup, and we all play to win. But there has always been the respect on the pitch and outside the pitch and we hope that nothing is going to happen.”

“Hopefully nothing will happen but we can just talk, help each other, and talk about racism and equality on the pitch. We can’t really do anything about it but give everyone a good message to avoid those things.”

Pogba became the most expensive player in English football history last summer, after Manchester United paid a reported £89 million to sign him.

There are currently no openly gay players in the top tiers of English football.

The last player to come out while playing was Justin Fashanu, who came out in 1990 but died by suicide in 1998 after years of homophobic abuse.

Former Leeds United player Robbie Rogers and former Aston Villa player Thomas Hitzlsperger have both come out as gay in recent years, but only after retiring from English football.

Pogba’s comments come the same week that the Premier League has been urged to do more to tackle homophobia in the sport.

Police are this week investigating homophobic chanting at a football match between Leicester City and Brighton & Hove Albion.

Football execs have vowed to stamp out homophobic chanting at the Brighton’s matches, and took swift action during Saturday’s Premier League match at Leicester’s King Power Stadium.

When Leicester City fans began targeting their rivals with anti-gay chants, authorities ejected dozens of fans from the stadium.