28/11/2012 05:27 GMT

Manchester United's Anders Lindegaard Says Football Needs A 'Gay Hero'

Manchester United stopper Anders Lindegaard has said football needs a "gay hero", and slammed the sports "primitive" and "intolerant" attitudes towards homosexuality.

Lindegaard, 28, who is heterosexual, has written a blog discussing the "taboo subject".

Whilst racism in football receives plenty of media courage, most recently with the Mark Clattenburg debacle, homosexuality in football is far less, if ever, discussed.


Lindegaard: "My impression is that the players would not have a problem accepting a homosexual"

Since Justin Fashanu publicly came out in 1990, not a single high-profile footballer has followed suit.

Max Clifford, Britain's leading PR advisor, admitted advising football stars to stay in the closet as it would spell the end of their career because the game "remains in the dark ages, steeped in homophobia".

Lindegaard emphasises that he believes the problem lies with the reception from fans rather than the players.

He writes: "The atmosphere on the pitch and in the stands is tough.

"The mechanisms are primitive, and it is often expressed through a classic stereotype that a real man should be brave, strong and aggressive. And it is not the image that a football fan associates with a gay person."

Research by gay rights group, Stonewall, found that homophobia is "a more pressing concern for the national game with one in four fans thinking football is homophobic compared to one in 10 who think that it is racist".

These findings were echoed by a Parliamentary report by the Culture, Media and Sport Committee that found "homophobia may now be a bigger problem in football than other forms of discrimination".

Other sports in Britain have had degrees of success in accepting homosexuals.

Retired Welsh rugby player, Gareth Thomas, came out in 2009 although he was the "only then-current professional male athlete in a team sport who was openly gay".

Since then cricketer Steven Davies and volleyball player Michael Dos Santos have come out.

Puerto Rican Orlando Cruz became the first openly gay boxer last month.

The most high-profile gay footballer is Swedish fourth division player Anton Hysen.

Lindegaard writes: "(Homophobia) does not belong in a modern and liberal society. Any discrimination towards people is and should be totally unacceptable, whether it is about skin colour, religion, sexuality etc.

"Homosexuals are in need of a hero. They are in need of someone who dares to stand up for their sexuality."