Britain’s Football Association is urging gay players to come out, saying they shouldn’t be afraid to be open about their sexuality.
FA chairman David Bernstein said the governing body’s action plan to tackle homophobia in the sport means players should have the confidence to be openly gay.
UK clubs now face sanctions if they fail to deal with discrimination against players, coaches or fans.
The FA Board plans also include induction days for foreign players on Britain’s cultural values.
‘This is a very important day. Ensuring the game is inclusive and combats discrimination has been – and remains – at the top of my agenda,’ Bernstein said, reported The Daily Mail.
He added: ‘Equally, no football player should fear coming out as gay at the risk of suffering discrimination and we continue to strengthen our support programmes to ensure the game is open to all regardless of their sexuality.
‘The over-riding message remains that there is simply no place for any form of discrimination in football.’
Football player Clarke Carlisle, chair of the UK Professional Footballer’s Association, promised if a gay player did come out they would receive the full support from the union.
Justin Fashanu was the first, and only, English footballer to come out in 1990. Eight years later, he committed suicide.