Connect with us

Football

IS FOOTBALL STILL HOMOPHOBIC?

Published

on

 

Following the second retirement of Robbie Rogers from football, it got us thinking, why aren’t there more openly gay footballers out there? So I thought I’d investigate further. Robbie Rogers first retired two weeks after being released by Leeds United in February 2013, aged 25. Two weeks later he announced on his blog that he was gay. This made him the first openly gay footballer in the UK since Justin Fashanu.

Rogers wrote, “I’m a soccer player, I’m Christian, and I’m gay. Those are things that people might say wouldn’t go well together. But my family raised me to be an individual and to stand up for what I believe in.”

Rogers later stated he retired to avoid the media speculation regarding his sexuality and the scrutiny of the fans. His retirement lasted two months and he returned in April 2013 to play for LA Galaxy. He made his decision after speaking in front of a crowd of 500 at an LGBT youth event in Portland, Oregon, during which he “seriously felt like a coward”. Rogers told USA TODAY Sports, “These kids are standing up for themselves and changing the world, and I’m 25, I have a platform and a voice to be a role model. How much of a coward was I to not step up to the plate?”

In 1967, homosexuality in the United Kingdom was decriminalised, leading to a more liberal public attitude. There are lots of openly gay politicians and entertainers who remained elected and popular with little or no criticism or comment on their sexuality.

However, there has been a distinct lack of openly gay men in football. Despite this, or perhaps because of this, rumours in the press or joking between fans and players and even hostile homophobic abuse, have been common within the game.

The most famous gay footballer is Justin Fashanu, who played for Norwich City, Nottingham Forest, Manchester City, Notts County and Brighton and Hove Albion. Fashanu agreed to come out in The Sun as an exclusive story in October 1990, they ran the classy headline “£1M Footballer: I Am Gay”. In the article he claimed to have had an affair with a British MP. The Sun dragged out the tale with titillating stories of sexual encounters with unnamed MPs, football players and pop stars, which, he claims, were largely untrue.

Not only did Justin Fashanu receive vile chants from visiting fans regarding his race he was also now getting abuse about his sexuality.

In March 1998, Maryland, USA, a 17-year-old lad claimed he had been sexually assaulted after a night of drinking. Homosexual acts were illegal in Maryland at this time and the boy claimed he awoke to a sexual act being performed on him without his permission. Fashanu then fled to England before he could be arrested. On the morning of 3rd May 1998, Justin Fashanu was found hanged in a deserted lock up garage in Shoreditch, London. In his suicide note, he denied the charges, stating that the sex was consensual, and that he had fled to England because he felt he could not get a fair trial because of his homosexuality, and he added: “I realised that I had already been presumed guilty. I do not want to give any more embarrassment to my friends and family.”

Other footballers have come out as gay after retirement, perhaps the most renown being Thomas Hitzlsperger, who played in the premiership for Aston Villa, West Ham and Everton.

In other sports within the UK people are ‘coming out’ all the time, like Tom Daley (diver) Nicola Adams (boxer), Gareth Thomas (rugby player), Keegan Hirst (rugby player), Steven Davies (cricket), Casey Stoney (women’s football), Clare Balding (jockey/presenter) and Joh Amaechi (NBA- Orlando Magic).

In international sport there is Martina Navaratilova (tennis), Ian Thorpe (swimming), Liz Carmouche (MMA), Michael Sam (NFL- Dallas Cowboys), Jason Collins (NBA- New Jersey Nets), Ryan O’ Callaghan (NFL- Kansa City Chiefs) and Abby Wambach (Football).

Football has to be one of the most popular spectator sports, so is it easier to come out in sports that are less popular? In America there are a few NFL and NBA stars that have come out as gay. In fact, Jason Collins sought advice from Robbie Rogers on how to come out to the sporting world.

Is it down to Justin Fashanu’s experiences that other footballers have felt the need to hide their sexuality? Is the fear of being chanted at by rival fans? Or the fear of fake stories appearing in the press? Whatever it is, surely in these times, if a footballer is gay, most fans can see passed the sexuality? Could it even be lucrative for a Premier League footballer to come out as gay, surely lots of companies would be queuing up to use them in endorsements?

Paul Pogba recently said that openly gay footballers WOULD receive respect in the Premier League. Apparently, players are in the know who is gay and who is not. Surely if one person comes out then others will follow in support? One thing is for sure, a person’s sexuality doesn’t change them as a person and certainly doesn’t alter their ability to play football. Maybe in the next couple of years footballers will have no fear about coming out as gay. The FA has identified Football v Homophobia as its chosen campaign, partnering with the Justin campaign, to educate widely on homophobia.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Football

How good is your FA Cup Knowledge?

Published

on

 

LONDON, ENGLAND – MAY 27: The FA Cup Trophy is seen prior to The Emirates FA Cup Final between Arsenal and Chelsea at Wembley Stadium on May 27, 2017 in London, England. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

How good is your FA Cup knowledge?

FA Cup Quiz

Test your FA Cup knowledge with our quiz to mark the occasion.

Leaderboard: FA Cup Quiz

maximum of 15 points
Pos. Name Entered on Points Result
Table is loading
No data available

Continue Reading

Football

Is the FA Cup losing it’s magic ?

Published

on

Having just seen the conclusion of the 3rd round of this seasons’ FA Cup we can’t help but think that much like the Premier League, trophy is Man City’s to lose, but is the magic of the FA Cup still alive?
The 4th round draw has hardly produced any must watch ties and we’ll probably see the top level teams progress further into the competition as expected, however…
The question remains is the gap decreasing or do the higher level players just care that bit less?
Shrewsbury deserved to beat West Ham, Fleetwood held Leicester, Wigan were pegged back late on by Bournemouth and these are all before Forest blew Arsenal away and Coventry City ended a managerial reign.
With the notable exception of Wengers’ men, we feel it only fair to say that the PL clubs sent out strong sides with a small number of changes that you would deem acceptable based on past seasons and a relatively busy recent schedule.
Dropping out of the big time you’d find an array of other “shocks.” Villa, Brentford and QPR all crashed out at home to lower league opposition whilst Mansfield and Carlisle held Championship opposition in 0-0 stalemates.
Yes, there will be the inevitable increase in performance from lower level players, especially when the TV cameras are in presence but is there more too it?
We genuinely believe the gap is closing between the 4 professional leagues in the English game. We are seeing bang average players be transferred for 10’s of millions and on some occasions it’s nothing more than footballing snobbery. Look at the lads at Bristol City, did many of us know of them? Why have they not been linked with bigger clubs? Are scouts just being sent abroad?
Prime example – 2 of the best performing left backs in the country are Barry Douglas (Wolves) & Andy Robertson (Liverpool) they have both plied their trade for Queens Park and Dundee United but it has taken needless additional years before having their talent recognised, they both transferred in the summer for a combined £11m, 1/3 of the fee for Luke Shaw or 1/5 of that for Benjamin Mendy.
The clubs without the guaranteed revenue streams which are provided to the top table teams are working harder, becoming more technically able and appear to just want it more.
The Prem does provide excitement but it is becoming far too much about the money and not about the football, it’s about not losing and only in the league. For many the FA Cup is nothing more than a distraction and you wouldn’t be surprised if the players were told “it’s all about next week and three points.”
With the top 4 virtually an exclusive club surely many of these managers need to finally realise that their best chance of recognition is a cup run with an “unfashionable club.” It would once again be refreshing to see a winner in the mould of a Wigan Athletic.
What this does mean, is that lower level clubs need to be taken a lot more seriously and the coming rounds treated just like a league game.
With only 4 PL sides guaranteed to progress could we be on for an all non PL final?
MK Dons vs Sheffield United anyone?
The FA Cup will continue to divide opinion amongst the purists, but for now it is still one of Europe’s premier competitions. We just need to hope that it is continued to be taken seriously by the majority and it creates similar magic and stories to those it has in the past.

Continue Reading

Football

Has the January transfer window lost it’s purpose?

Published

on

 Like most things in football these days, or at least in the top leagues across the world, everything is done for the purpose of money. The clubs sing to the hymn sheets created by the constant search for financial gain. But, has it become such a way that the January transfer window has become another way to spin money and highlight the World elite to even more sponsors and the such like?

The Background

When the January transfer window was brought to the attention, as a concept, to Europe’s elite football associations it was initially frowned upon by most. That was in 1992/93, eventually in 1999 most of Europe had agreed to a transfer window commencing in mid-December through to the end of January. The Premier League, however, were relying on a final vote to determine whether or not the league and its clubs would be in or out.

Terry Venables. Godfarther of the 1992 Transfer window decision

In that vote 3-4 of the smaller clubs voted against the impending new transfer window in fear of their club collapsing if they couldn’t do business through other months of the year when profits could potentially be higher. The rest of the league voted in favour.
Then, in 2000, with FIFA under enormous pressure from the European Commission to wind up its whole transfer system, due to accusations being made that the system was breaching the Treaty of Rome. FIFA got an almighty kick up the rear and almost immediately came up with a compromise.
The compromise was to include compulsory transfer windows across its leagues, to prevent the issues that the Bosman debacle had created in 1995.

Jean-Marc Bosman – The game changer. Won a ruling in the European high court which banned restrictions on foreign EU players within national leagues and allowed players in the EU to move to another club at the end of a contract without a transfer fee being paid.

It got to 2001 and the Premier league had still not agreed to the proposals put forward by FIFA, however the rest of Europe had and even the European Commission were now on board with FIFA’s plans.
Finally, in 2002/03 the Premier League and its teams succumbed to mounting pressure and accepted the proposals.

As it stands…

You could probably ask all the managers in the Premier league for their opinions on the January window and the old fashioned managers (the likes of Pardew, Moyes & Allardyce) will tell you it causes unnecessary problems and disruption midway through a season.
The new managers, however, have almost been brought up on the reality of the format being here to stay. They almost certainly utilise it better and often, because of that, get more support and backing financially from the board above them at their respective clubs.
Ultimately, the idea of this current window wasn’t really something the Premier League wanted. That was before the enormous amounts of television money were poured into clubs and subsequently meant the Premier League was the biggest financial money churner the world over.

The windows current image

Put simply, it’s no longer about clubs strengthening their squads. Gone is the ideology of clubs selling players to buy players, because they just don’t need to do that anymore. There’s now enough money at each Premier league club to buy a player within their means without worrying about the cost.
The January transfer window is now purely a luxury for the bigger clubs to have another opportunity to flex their muscles and bring in the big names. Some might say that’s a cynical way of looking at it, but there’s no plausible way or reasonable fact to prove it’s any different. Rarely do the clubs below the bottom half of the league go out and buy 2-3 players like they might in the summer, because they don’t have the funds like they would in the summer from things such as TV deals and kit sponsors.
The only benefit this current period in the season has for clubs not in a financial position to buy players, is the option to loan them until the end of the season – usually to try and stave off the threat of relegation – often a temporary measure that will wind up with the club following the same process the following year.

Further afield…

When you look away from the Premier League you start to see that it’s a common theme that other leagues don’t spend much in the January window and instead opt for loan deals;
 
Bundesliga 16/17 season (January): £92,124,000.
Bundesliga 16/17 season (Summer): £498,944,250.
Loan deals – Departures in Jan: 62
Loan deals – Arrivals in Jan: 40
La Liga 16/17 season (January): £25,425,000.
La Liga 16/17 season (Summer): £439,051,500.
Loan deals – Departures in Jan: 59
Loan deals – Arrivals in Jan: 54
Serie A season 16/17 (January): £88,231,007.
Serie A season 16/17 (Summer): £662,917,461.
Loan deals – Departures in Jan: 217
Loan deals – Arrivals in Jan: 184
The best example that the loan option is being exploited because of the constraints of the transfer window, much against its intention, is that of Serie A. Of the 184 arrivals to clubs in Italy in January last season, on a loan basis, 54% of those were players returning to the club they were originally contracted at. Proving once more that so often players leave in January for 12 months and then return to their former clubs. That holds no benefit for the players involved in most cases.
Another case in point and more recently is ‘Barkley-gate’ between Everton and Chelsea. Between August 2017 and January 2018, a fee of £35 million was agreed on 31st August for the injured midfielder who’d been at Everton for 13 years. The player and his agent conspired to turn down that move. Just 4 months on and while he was still injured, a new fee was agreed between the clubs meaning the selling club (Everton in this case) gets £20 million less for the lad in whom they’d invested so much. Evidently, that deal would have been agreed between the clubs and then quietly between the player, his agent and Chelsea with the latter always focused on a deal in January.

To summarise

The January transfer was not something that the elite leagues and football associations all over Europe wanted. The window was formed by FIFA to appease the mounting pressure they were under from the European Commission. Surely it’s finally time to level the playing field by abandoning the January window and hand the Premier League’s struggling clubs and managers a greater degree of stability for a whole season at a time. Ultimately becoming a way to level up the money/no money situation thats obviously apparent every season across Europe.

Continue Reading

Trending