FA chairman Greg Clarke says he is “personally ashamed” that gay football players do not feel safe to come out.

Appearing before Parliament’s Culture, Media and Sport select committee on Monday, Greg Clarke admitted that his governing body still has a long way to go before discrimination in football is eradicated.

He said: “I would be amazed if we haven’t got gay players in the Premier League, and I am personally ashamed that they don’t feel safe to come out.”

Mr Clarke said the FA was not in “denial” about the problem and was determined to make grounds more inclusive.

“Before we encourage them to come out we must provide them with a safe space.

“The good news is we are not in denial there is deep loathing of that behaviour within football I am just cautious of encouraging people to come out until we have done our part of the bargain,” he told the Culture, Media and Sport committee.

He added: “There’s very, very small minority of people who hurl vile abuse at people who they perceive to be different.

“Our job is to identify anyone guilty of persecuting a minority and come down on them with a ton of bricks.”

Clarke made the comments as he faced a grilling from MPs as part of the Government’s governance of football inquiry. And he vowed to work at changing the culture of the game to make it more inclusive.

 

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