Group of professional footballers ‘plan to come out as gay’ in days | Football

There are currently no openly gay male players in any of Germany’s professional leagues (Getty)

A group of male professional footballers in Germany are planning to come out as gay on the same day in May.

According to German weekly newspaper Preußische Allgemeine Zeitung, several professional players across the nation are planning to come out on May 17 – the Friday before the final weekend of the Bundesliga season.

May 17 is also a significant date as it is marked as the International Day Against Homophobia.

It’s understood that all clubs involved are informed about the campaign, although the report claims that some players still remain ‘hesitant’ about making their sexuality public and could still reverse the decision before the date next month.

Marcus Urban, a former footballer in Germany who came out as gay after his career had ended, is the co-founder of Diversero, a global community for diversity, and is aware of the group’s plans to announce their sexuality.

‘May 17th is an offer,’ Urban said. ‘A date that you could use as a guide and get together as a group.

Thomas Hitzlsperger of West Ham United

Thomas Hitzlsperger became the first German footballer to come out as gay in 2014 (Getty)

‘There is controversy there. Do I still want to wait until the world of football becomes the way I want it to be? Why should I wait? An interesting dynamic has come into play, you can see that people’s minds are starting to move and are thinking about whether it really makes sense to continue to hide and deny themselves.

‘There are also gay Bundesliga couples who are in hiding. That would be so liberating. What’s wrong with it.’

The planned group outing is called ‘Sports Free’, while there will also be the documentary called ‘Hide and Seek’, which will follow the individual accounts of the players involved.

As it stands, there are no active male professional footballers in Germany who are openly gay.

Former Germany international, Thomas Hitzlsperger, who played in the Premier League for Aston Villa, West Ham and Everton, came out as gay in 2014 a year after his playing career had ended and has revealed he was advised to keep quiet during his time as a footballer.

‘Not everyone around me thought it was okay,’ Hitzlsperger said in the Amazon Prime documentary ‘The Last Taboo’. ‘My lawyer advised me against coming out.’

In professional football worldwide, there are only four male players who are openly gay – Blackpool forward Jake Daniels, who became the first male professional footballer in England to come out as gay in 32 years in 2022.

The list also includes San Diego Loyal midfielder Collin Martin, Adelaide United’s Josh Cavallo, and Cagliari’s Jakub Jankto.

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