08 June 2021

A recent study by the Dutch Mulier Institute revealed that more than half of professional football players in the Netherlands consider it important to increase the acceptance of homosexuality and bisexuality in professional football. At the same time, 46 percent indicated that it is difficult for players to come out. For the research, the Mulier Institute, on behalf of the Alliantie Gelijkspelen led by John Blankenstein Foundation (JBF), and in collaboration with the Association of Contract Players (VVCS).

When it comes to general gay acceptance and gay acceptance among supporters, professional football players give this a large unsatisfactory mark. For general acceptance, the players indicated on average a 4.6 on a scale from 1 to 10 and for acceptance among supporters a 3.4 was given. It is remarkable that the players do give themselves a pass when it comes to gay acceptance; 7.8.

“I think fellow players and staff would have no problem having a gay man on the team. The outside world maybe more”.

Unknown professional football player

In general, it was indicated by professional football players that there are a number of major obstacles to reach gay acceptance in professional football. The macho culture in football doesn’t make gay acceptance any easier. Players feel that they are not allowed to show their feelings, and this prevents some players from being able to be themselves.

In addition, there are many jokes in football about homosexuality. This is seen by many as an innocent part of football culture and not as a negative expression towards gay or bisexual men.

In general, when it comes to sanctioning players when the word “gay” is used as a swear word during matches or training. It is striking that players are often more lenient towards homo-negative expressions, compared with a zero tolerance attitude towards negative expressions about skin colour, ethnicity or religion.

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