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PFA chief says homophobia not high on football agenda

PFA chief Gordon Taylor
Taylor says tackling homophobia is a complex issue

Professional Footballers Association chief Gordon Taylor has told BBC 5 live that the issue of homophobia is not high on the sport's agenda.

Taylor has explained why no Premier League footballers were featured in the FA's new anti-homophobia video, which was pulled earlier this week.

"They wanted one player at every club and the Premier League didn't think it was a big enough issue," he said.

"If individual players were asked, hopefully they would speak out."

The FA video, which was due to be launched on Thursday, highlights the problem of homophobia among some football fans.

But it was pulled by the association because of fears that the message is too blunt.

Taylor believes that football crowds are not yet ready for this sort of campaign.

"It's not a straightforward issue and it would be unfair to ask an individual player to back a campaign like this in case they got targeted by football crowds," he said.

"We felt it was right for the organisation to come out strongly together with the FA and build from that.

"It's about educating crowds, as well as players, and we believe the time would be more appropriate when crowds are a bit more civilised.

It is a macho environment and this particular issue will take time and consideration because it can get very emotional.

The FA video was pulled because of fears the message was too blunt, reports Jackie Long

Taylor said that the PFA had not been approached by any gay footballers.

PR consultant Max Clifford told the BBC earlier this week that three top players - two bisexual and one gay - had come to him amid fears about their sexuality and the effect coming out would have on their careers.

Meanwhile, a recent survey by the gay rights group Stonewall found that seven in 10 fans had witnessed anti-gay abuse in the sport.

In addition, three in five fans said they believed that anti-gay abuse from fans dissuades gay players from coming out.

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see also
The FA's approach to tackling homophobia
10 Feb 10 |  Newsnight

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