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Dublin: 11 °C Tuesday 2 September, 2014

Head of Italian Players’ Association tells gay footballers to stay in the closet

Damiano Tommasi has said players should “discouraged” from coming out.

Tommasi had a successful football career before becoming head of the Players' Association.
Tommasi had a successful football career before becoming head of the Players' Association.

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.

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