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.’
I am really shocked by those findings!! As an avid fan of both tennis and football, the results of this poll make me really happy, as well as sadden me at the same time. 65 % in comparison to 6 should not only set alarms rigning, it should also concern fans and players alike! What I'm quite shocked by is that despite the report (Leagues Behind) being published last year, the reply yet has not been visible. FA stance on the Homophobia in football video has also been disgusting, and unless I have missed out on any news, there has not been a follow-up to the decision not to screen the film back in February? As a sports fan, it really does sadden me, especially as no governing body seems to even want to do anything to tackle homophobia!! In a way I'm glad that the disparity between how gay-friendly tennis and football are is as great as it is, perhaps that will get people's attention! I feel ashamed, completely ashamed that football aims to teach young people, to represent values for life, and yet, through sheer unwillingness? does none of that, without maybe even realising it. Those are sad sad times, and I want to believe it's gonna change for the better...
Bee, 15 July 2010
During office hours please call: 020 7593 1856 or outside office hours on 07985 439 660.
If you are a journalist and wish to be added to Stonewall's media contacts list, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org