A gay Premier League footballer has made an anonymous statement saying that he is terrified of being 'crucified' by supporters.
The player has reportedly been in therapy over fears that football fans will abuse him if he comes out.
He's said that the mood on the terrace "is still very much the 1980's" and that he feels "trapped".
As of 2020, there are no openly gay footballers in England's top four divisions.
The Sun published the footballer's statement, saying “It’s 2021 and I should be able to be free to tell everyone who I am."
However the identity of the player is still firmly under wraps, with him writing: "only my family members and a select group of friends are aware of my sexuality. I don't feel ready to share it with my team or manager."
Gay Premier League players
Only five male footballers have come out as gay publicly.
The most recent openly-gay player is Thomas Hitzlsperger, a german Premier League footballer who came out in 2014 after finishing his career in 2013.
He was met by support from his team, who described him as "brave".
Justin Fashanu, the first black footballer to earn over £1 million, announced that he was gay in 1990 and was the first footballer to come out.
Fashanu sadly died in 1998 after taking his own life.
Some believe that the hostility Justin Fashanu felt after coming out has persuaded other gay footballers to keep their sexuality private.
Max Clifford told the Independent in 2009: "It's a very sad state of affairs. But it's a fact that homophobia in football is as strong now as it was 10 years ago."
Over a decade later and still not one English footballer has come out as gay.
For now, it looks like the Premier League footballer is keeping his identity under wraps.
He says: "my fear is that disclosing the truth about what I am will only make things worse."
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