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FA chairman: “Not one gay footballer is willing to talk”

FA chairman Greg Clarke says he’s been trying to discuss LGBT+ issues in British football but “not one” gay professional footballer has been willing to meet him.

Earlier this year, Clarke said the FA was hoping to make it easier for gay footballers in the top flight to come out.

He says the response has been good at the semi-professional level but in top-flight football players are still too frightened or unwilling to come forward.

He told the Telegraph: “We haven’t yet won the trust of the professional gay players. I’ve reached out. I’ve seen athletes, swimmers, divers, I’ve gone everywhere. And they’ve shared their views with me.

“I’ve said – ‘Why won’t gay footballers meet me?’ They’ve all said – ‘I don’t know because I don’t know any gay footballers.’ They’re very deeply buried.

“I haven’t met one player at professional level who would even agree to meet me in the middle of nowhere for a conversation over a cup of coffee. Not one. I don’t blame them for that.

“If they don’t feel comfortable having that conversation, it doesn’t say good things about our game.

“I don’t want to speculate about what’s in their heads. They obviously don’t feel comfortable. I’ve spoken to the Premier League, the EFL [Football League], the PFA [Professional Footballers’ Association], the LMA [League Managers’ Association].

“I’ve met a lot of gay activists, gay publishers. I went down to Stonewall [FC], watched a game, had a beer in the bar afterwards – and talked about the issues. At the semi-pro level and below, nobody’s worried.”

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