The national Italian football team’s coach, Cesare Prandelli, has called for the end of homophobia in Italian sports.
The unprecedented statement appeared on the preface of the book Il Campione Innamorato: Giochi Proibiti Nello Sport (The Champion in Love: Prohibited Players in Sport) by Alessandro Cecchi Paone and Flavio Pagano.
‘In Italian sports, and especially in the football world, homosexuality is still a taboo. We have to spend ourselves in favour of truth and freedom. I’d like to see some football players coming out,’ Prandelli wrote.
Few Italian sportspersons have come out so far. Nobody in the football premier league has done it, even though half a dozen of famous football players are said to be gay. Soccer is Italy's most popular sport.
Prandelli added: ‘Everyone must live his/her own life, expressing freely feelings, needs and desires.’
The book by Cecchi Paone and Pagano is about the history of secret lives of many sports champions. The main question of the book is: is there a connection between happiness in love and success in sports?
Coach Prandelli says he hopes for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender sportspeople to live their lives openly and publicly.
Every discipline is represented in the book: from rugby to fencing, from boxing to athletics and from cycling to football.