Football comes last in poll of gay-friendly sports
If England’s World Cup failure wasn’t bad enough, football suffered another knock today as it was voted the least gay-friendly sport in Britain. Tennis took the top spot, with 65 per cent saying it was the most gay-friendly. Rugby scored 29 per cent and just 6 per cent of respondents said football was our most gay-friendly sport.
The online poll, the latest Stonewall social media poll, backed up recent YouGov research for Stonewall which found that more than one in four fans think football is ‘anti-gay’ and three in five fans say anti-gay abuse dissuades players from coming out.
James Munro from the Lawn Tennis Association said: ‘As the national governing body for tennis in Britain, the Lawn Tennis Association is delighted that tennis has been recognised as a welcoming sport for all, regardless of age, ability, background or sexual orientation.’
Rugby player Gareth Thomas said: ‘The recent decision to fine the Castleford Tigers £40,000 for homophobic chanting directed at me sent a strong signal from the world of rugby about homophobia. By coming out, I hope to become a role model for any young gay people who aspire to be professional sports players.’
Speaking at this year’s Stonewall Equality Dinner, Martina Navratilova said: ‘When I first came out in 1981, it was lonely out there. The phrase I heard was “career suicide.” I’m told I lost millions in sponsorship, but I gained something of greater value – the opportunity to live my life with integrity.’
Stonewall Chief Executive Ben Summerskill said: ‘There’s not a single openly gay professional player in British football. Perhaps if football had a wider pool of talent to choose from, our World Cup performance wouldn’t be quite so pitiful.’
Commenting on Stonewall’s Facebook page, Dave Phillips said: ‘As a huge football fan it pains me to say this but, football is by far the most homophobic sport. It’s still totally acceptable and common for homophobic chants to be heard on the terraces. Also the fact that there are no out players pretty much says it all. Clubs need to do more to sort this out.’