Although many major sports in the world have witnessed a liberalization in which gay competitors have felt emboldened, or at least comfortable in revealing their sexual orientation openly and without fear of embarrassment or censure, football has not. Gay players have typically remained secretive during their active playing careers. Some have talked openly about their sexuality, but usually only after retiring. There are exceptions. This chapter answers the question: why has football culture been such a prohibitive environment? The popular though grotesquely misleading answer is: because the fans are homophobic. We challenge this not with rhetoric but with evidence. Fans argue that the principal prohibitions lie in clubs and agents and challenge football’s governing organizations to provide a more inclusive and supportive environment that supports any gay footballer who wants to publicly come out.


Hegemonic Masculinity Professional Footballer Traditional Masculinity Premier League Football Association 
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Copyright information

© Ellis Cashmore and Jamie Cleland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Staffordshire UniversityUK
  2. 2.Loughborough UniversityUK

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