Former England striker Gary Lineker recently revealed that he knows two Premier League players who are gay. He urged them to come out during this year’s World Cup in Qatar, where homosexuality is illegal. “It would be incredible if one or both came out during the World Cup,” he said. “That would send a message to the world.”
The source said that both players were open about being gay in their dressing room, and that teammates were aware of their relationship. However, the pair are reluctant to come out publicly, not out of any shame but because they want to focus on their football careers.
Despite the growing acceptance of gay players, the sport remains a predominantly heterosexual environment. In May, Blackpool player Jake Daniels became the first UK male professional footballer to reveal his sexuality while playing in a top-flight league. Adelaide United player Josh Cavallo also made the move last year, becoming the world’s only active openly gay male footballer in a top-flight league.
Scottish footballer Zander Murray is the only other player in a major league to have come out as gay, and that was back in 2021. Meanwhile, Blackpool manager Gary Holt has spoken out in favor of gay marriage, and the chairman of the FA’s ruling body, Greg Clarke, is also openly gay. In contrast, women’s football has a more diverse player population and is far more accepting of its LGBTQ members. This disparity is due in part to the lower level of scrutiny that women’s football receives.