Friday, February 4, 2011

Football fans would accept gay players, new research shows

Staffordshire University will celebrate LGBT History Month by presenting the controversial findings of a survey into gay footballers, this month.

The event will see the authors of the TopFan survey, Professor Ellis Cashmore and Dr Jamie Cleland, speaking about and taking questions on their research.

And former Mayor of Stoke-on-Trent, Mike Wolfe, will be hosting a Q&A session for attendees also.

The TopFan survey, entitled Gay Footballers – Welcome or Unwanted, found that the vast majority of football fans would be supportive of gay players who reveal their sexuality.

Of the 3,500 participants, including fans, players, referees and other officials, most felt that players were unfairly pressured by their clubs and agents into keeping their sexuality secret.

Professor Cashmore said: “It is inconceivable that, out of an estimated 500,000 professional players around the world, not one is gay. The truth is that football culture is prohibitive: gay players have neither the confidence nor the inclination to come out.

“Our conclusion is that this is not a healthy condition for football and our concern is that football is, in this sense, out of tune with the rest of the sporting world.

“The survey reveals a new and surprising image of football culture, which has been characterised as stuck in the dark ages and ‘steeped in homophobia.’”

It is hoped the event will bring more attention to the findings of the survey and encourage football’s governing bodies to take action.

Clare Ridgley, Equality and Diversity Manager at Staffordshire University, said: “This event is part of the University’s Celebrating Diversity Programme and we hope that by providing a platform to discuss this fascinating research we will raise awareness and understanding of some of the issues that members of our LGBT community face.”

The Staffordshire University LGBT History Month event takes place on Wednesday, February 23, between 5:45pm and 7:30pm, at the University’s Stoke Campus.

To book a free place or for further information contact Clare Harp, Equality and Diversity Team, via email or phone 01782 292775.

No comments: