Frank Lampard Discusses Gay Football Players and the Sport’s Problem with Homosexuality

Frank Lampard has spoken of the changing attitudes towards sexuality taking place within professional football, saying how he hopes that one day a footballer can come out as homosexual and be “treated with respect.”

During an interview with Alan Carr on the comedian’s late-night Chatty Man show, Lampard was questioned by the host over the lack of openly gay footballers. Carr said: “Statistically there should be loads [of gay footballers]. One in ten are gay, aren’t they? Fifty-thousand professional footballers, one of them must be.”

Lampard replied: “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.

“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.”

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Compared to other major sports, football is considerably lacking when it comes to the representation of LGBT players. While there are likely players in high-profile clubs who are gay, there have only been a handful of instances in which a player has came out as homosexual, and they have only done so when they are either retired from the game or are reaching the end of their professional career. 

Former Aston Villa midfielder Thomas Hitzlsperger was one of the most recent high-profile instances of a player coming out as gay, though he did so after retiring from Everton in 2013. There are currently no players in the Premier League who are openly gay.

Hopefully Lampard’s championing of a new-school approach to homosexuality in football will lead to further calls for a more open, non-judgmental environment in football. However, when FIFA President Sepp Blatter states that gay fans should “refrain from any sexual activities” when the World Cup is help in Qatar in 2012, a country in which homosexuality is illegal, it’s difficult to see any great deal of progress being made in the near future.

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