Nearly half of France’s professional players are ‘hostile to homosexuality’, according to a new survey.
The poll, led by sports psychologist Anthony Mette, polled 121 professional soccer players from 13 clubs at the top two divisions in the league.
It found 41% of professional players appeared to hold homophobic views and 63% said they would be surprised if a teammate said he was gay ‘because it’s a taboo subject’.
As The Local reports, the authors were ‘alarmed’ by the homophobia festering among youth clubs, with as many as half of the young players scared to shower with a gay teammate and 22% saying they would ‘prefer if he left the team’.
The survey also found almost a quarter of youth players confessed they would be worried ‘the team’s performance would be worse’ with a gay player on the team.
‘As things are now, it seems almost impossible that a young gay man could come out in the context of a youth academy,’ the report said.
Speaking to French daily 20 Minutes, the researchers said: ‘We have to distinguish between opinions towards homosexuality in general, and [the question of] ‘what I would think’ about a gay teammate.
‘A majority of [professional] footballers would be open to the idea of a teammate having a gay relationship.’
In 2009, a French team of Muslims refused to play against a gay club, citing their religious convictions. The team was then permanently banned from its local league.
The survey comes after a number of high profile attacks on gay men in France, as the National Assembly passing the final vote in favor of marriage equality.