PRESIDENT OF THE Italian Players’ Association, Damiano Tommasi, has told Italy’s homosexual footballers that he “wouldn’t recommend coming out”.
In quotes attributed to AFP, the ex-Roma player indicated that the world of football was not a suitable environment for openly gay footballers.
When queried about the subject, Tommasi said the following:
“Coming out’s to be discouraged. The fact of being identified or singled out as ‘the one who is’, regardless of your profession, whether journalist, footballer or politician, I don’t think it would be an advisable path to take.
“Expressing your personal sexuality is difficult in every professional environment, and even more so for a footballer, who shares a changing room with his team-mates, and hence also his intimacy with others.
“In our world it could cause embarrassment. In a sport in which you get undressed it could cause an extra difficulty in cohabitation.”
Tommasi enjoyed a successful football career, which included 262 appearances for Roma, in addition to a brief stint at QPR, before becoming head of the association last May.
Homosexuality in sport is still considered taboo and many commentators including ex-Wales international Gareth Thomas – one of the few openly gay athletes – have encouraged players to speak out on the issue.