Belfast Telegraph

Frank Lampard on being gay in football: "We are probably at fault as a sport"

By Jenn Selby

Frank Lampard has challenged existing ideas that footballers are all “macho”, suggesting that attitudes towards sexuality on and off the pitch have changed significantly.

The former England midfielder  was asked by Alan Carr on his Chatty Man show whether the British public would ever be likely to “see a gay footballer”.

“Statistically there should be loads,” Carr said. “One in ten are gay aren’t they? Fifty-thousand professional footballers, one of them must be.”

“I think a lot of the problem is, as you say, it’s a fact that it will be out there, as it is in all modern life at all times, but I think we are probably at fault as a sport,” Lampard replied.

“I think that it’s that old syndrome where it’s a man’s game and you can’t talk about that. I have to say the game’s changing a lot.

“There are a lot of campaigns. I feel it in the dressing room. There’s a different feel about it.

“I would love it if someone came out and everyone treated it with respect. You know that thing about ‘we’re macho we play football’, is very old hat.”

His comments follow the public coming out of Leeds star Robbie Rogers, who made the admission about his sexuality shortly before retiring from English football in 2013.

Thomas Hitzlsperger, who played for Arsenal, also came out ahead of his retirement in 2014.

Justin Fashanu was the last Premiership player to come out publicly. He did so in 1990. He suffered a torrent of homophobic abuse, before taking his own life in 1998 amid sexual assault allegations.

More recently, Arsenal stars Theo Walcott, Mikel Arteta, Olivier Giroud, Santi Cazorla and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain were among those to show their support for LGBT charity Stonewall's Rainbow Laces campaign.

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