Young gay footballers (as soccer players outside of Canada and the U.S. are called) are more likely to be well-received by their teammates than they were a decade ago, suggests a new study by the universities of Kent and Winchester in the U.K.
The study involved 22 heterosexual Premier League players (between the ages of 16–18) from working-class backgrounds. All of the participants said they would accept a gay teammate.
From the University of Kent:
The study results showed a marked difference in acceptance of gay teammates compared to the findings of the last such study, carried out a decade ago.
Dr Roberts said: ‘The interview results were broadly consistent with other recent research on young British men of their age in that these men showed no overt animosity towards gay men.
‘In fact, they were more than tolerant and showed an inclusive attitude toward the hypothetical situation of having a gay teammate, best friend or roommate reveal their sexuality. The results are clear: among the 22 future footballers we interviewed, all were unbothered by the issue of gays in sport.
‘This indicated a marked shift in perception from the last study. Although there was some evidence then that attitudes were changing, there has been a generational shift over the last decade. Lads now are saying “we would openly support and accept one of our colleagues coming out”.’