The mind-bending number which proves the UK has gay professional footballers

Rainbow laces and publicity campaign aim to give British soccer a ‘kick up the arse’ to make it more LGBT friendly

The mind-bending number which proves the UK has gay professional footballers
16 September 2013

Bookies have calculated the odds of there being no gay footballer in British soccer and generated a number so big it is 134 digits long.

It comes as bookmakers Paddy Power start a campaign with leading gay campaign organization Stonewall to tackle homophobia in football today (15 September).

They’ve done the math – and with 5,000 pro male soccer players in the UK and 6% of the population being gay, the likelihood of none of them being gay or bisexual is so remote as to be impossible.

It is 1 in 22,947,321,563,647,480,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,
000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,
000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000.

That’s such a big number (more than a quadragintillion) that mathematicians don’t bother writing it out in full. Instead they use a formula… 2.29 x 10 to the power of 134.

As a comparison, this is similar odds to predicting the correct score in 150 football matches, one after the other.

The stats also show seven in 10 soccer fans who have attended a match had heard or witnessed homophobia on the terraces.

And over half of fans think the Football Association, Premier League and Football League aren’t doing enough to tackle anti-gay abuse.

So Paddy Power and Stonewall are today kicking off a campaign with a week of publicity using the slogan ‘Right Behind Gay Footballers’ and the hashtag #RBGF.

Meanwhile, they’ve sent out 5,000 pairs of laces – one for every footballer in all 134 professional clubs in the UK.

The campaigners hope the players will wear the laces in their club fixtures on Saturday and Sunday (21 and 22 September).

Stonewall deputy chief executive Laura Doughty said: ‘It’s time for football clubs and players to step up and make a visible stand against homophobia in our national game.

‘By wearing rainbow laces players will send a message of support to gay players and can begin to drag football in to the 21st century.’

Paddy Power, the bookmaker’s spokesman, said: ‘We love football but it needs a kick up the arse.

‘In most other areas of life people can be open about their sexuality and it’s time for football to take a stand and show players it doesn’t matter what team they play for.

‘Fans can show they are right behind this by simply tweeting using the #RBGF hashtag whilst all players have to do is lace up this weekend to help set an example in world sport.’

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