Bournemouth FC’s Premier League manager Eddie Howe ‘wouldn’t hesitate’ to sign a gay footballer.
There are currently no openly LGBTI men in the English Premier League, but Howe said he’d welcome the first with open arms.
Howe told Winq: ‘I would sign a gay player without hesitation if they were the right player for the club.
‘Absolutely no doubt about it,’ he added.
‘The football and the footballer’s character are the things that define a career, not sexuality.”
‘As a manager you like to try and prepare yourself for every scenario that you may face.
‘You think about every eventuality and being prepared for anything.
‘So I would like to think I have the right mentality for when that day comes, and it will, when one of my players walks into my office to have that conversation.’
🗣 “We’re still searching for that consistency.”
— AFC Bournemouth 🍒 (@afcbournemouth) 1 April 2017
Howe believes it’s inevitable that a gay footballer will come out, and more will follow suit.
He says it’s important to foster a safe and accepting environment, in order for players to feel comfortable.
Howe said: ‘It’s only a matter of time, like everywhere else; the face of football is changing.
‘Football is heading in a direction of openness and acceptance and that’s the way it should be.
‘The first player to come out in the Premier League era will be defining, it will be a real breakthrough moment.
‘And I think when that happens other players will follow suit.
Howe won the Premier League’s manager of the month award in March this year.
He was a professional footballer between 2002 and 2007, before moving into managerial roles.