A secretly gay Premier League footballer has said it is “virtually impossible” to have a same-sex relationship while working at the top tier of British football due to discriminatory attitudes.
In an open letter released through the Justin Fashanu Foundation, the unnamed gay footballer pleaded with Premier League bosses to do more to eradicate homophobia in the sport.
The player said British football has not “moved on” enough to accept him if he were to come out as gay, according to The Sun.
He has told some of his teammates about his sexuality, but he has kept it a secret from the wider public due to fears that he would face homophobic abuse.
The man said lying about his sexuality has damaged his mental health and accused football bosses of paying “lip service” to the issue.
He continued by explaining how it has been “virtually impossible” to forge a long term relationship while keeping his sexuality a secret.
Amal Fashanu, the niece of Britain’s first openly gay footballer Justin Fashanu, released the letter to the news outlet to shine a light on the issues facing queer footballers.
This is the second letter the Justin Fashanu Foundation has released after another secretly gay footballer opened up about his experience in July.
Writing at the time, the unnamed English Premier League player said he was “afraid to come out” to the wider public.
Speaking about that letter, the second gay Premier League player said: “The reality is the we are two of many players in the Premier League who are gay.”
Amal Fashanu said the second player felt that he had a “weight lifted off his shoulders” after the first player’s letter was well received by the public.
“He was relieved in a way that the first letter came out and it was sympathetically received,” she said.
“He felt that lifted a weight off his shoulders and it is good that many attitudes have changed.
“I hope to put the two players in touch so they can discuss their situations and what they are going through,” she added.
Amal Fashanu called on the Premier League to work harder to improve life for gay players.
Justin Fashanu came out as gay in 1990 and tragically died by suicide in 1998.
Retired player Thomas Beattie became the second English major league footballer to come out as gay in June – however, he was not open about his sexuality when he was active in the sport.
A Premier League spokesperson insisted that they are “committed to supporting any player who wants to come out”.
“Premier League football is open to everyone and we and our clubs continue to work together to create safe and welcoming environments for all of our fans, players and employees,” the spokesperson said.