Four out of five British football fans would have no problem if a player came out as gay or bisexual.
That’s according to a poll by fan-opinion platform Forza Football and Stonewall.
The poll asked 50,000 supporters in 38 countries about their attitudes to inclusion and homophobic abuse.
It comes as OutNews Global’s #ComeOut2Play campaign gained an extraordinary social media reach of 34 million people worldwide.
Overall, 80% of fans said they would be comfortable with a player from their national team coming out, with nearly 9 in 10 fans in Iceland and Ireland expressing that view.
It’s not such a great situation in the US though. Just 63% of American soccer fans would be comfortable if a player in the national team came out as gay or bisexual.
Meanwhile in Qatar where the 2022 World Cup is set to take place, only one in 7 would be supportive and in the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Egypt, a dismally-low one in 10 fans say they’d have a positive reaction to an openly gay or bi player.
The figure for Russia, where next year’s World Cup will be hosted, is almost 50% saying they’d be okay with gay or bisexual players.
This is the second time the poll’s been run and there are signs that more progressive views are spreading in certain parts of the world.
Three years ago, only one in five Russians said they would have been comfortable with a gay or bisexual player in the national side.
More worryingly, it seems attitudes in Brazil, Italy, Saudi Arabia and Turkey are hardening with support dropping for LGBT players.
Patrik Arnesson, the chief executive of Forza Football, said: “Lesbian, gay, bi and trans people are part of the football community across the world, and have as much right to play, watch and follow the game as much as anyone else.
“With the biggest sporting event on earth taking place in Russia in 2018, we want to see FIFA taking a stronger stance to ensure the safety of all LGBT fans involved in the tournament.”