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Supporters and Macho Culture Keeps Football Players in the Closet

by our Editors in Lifestyle & Fashion , 26 december 2014


Dutch professional football players think that the behaviour of supporters and the macho culture are the main reasons for homophobia in Dutch professional football. Therefore, according to 82 percent of the contract players, it is very difficult to come out of the closet.

This is the result of a survey among 400 players under contract that was commissioned by the John Blankenstein Foundation (JBF) and the Association of Contract Players (Vereniging van Contractspelers, VVCS). Almost half of all the contract players in Dutch professional football - 400 out of 850 - completed the survey. The results were presented last month in the current affairs programme Nieuwsuur.

The survey shows that most players do not have a problem with a team-mate that his homosexual, and over 70% thinks it is fine if a team-mate comes out of the closet. The responses show that 4 percent of the players in fact has a team-mate who is gay or bisexual.

Besides the behaviour of the fans and the macho culture, the respondents also think that the local media plays its part in the homophobia in football. One third is of the opinion that a large amount of media attention could be a reason for a gay or bisexual player not to come out of the closet. Financial interests of sponsors is of no importance according to the respondents. Only 7% thinks that loss of market value is a reason not to come out of the closet.

JSF project member Huub ter Haar: "Clubs can play an important role, for example by making the topic debatable. Unfortunately, most clubs do not do enough when it comes to this." VVCS President and former professional player Danny Hesp thinks that players mostly want the gay-hostile atmosphere around the football field to change. "It would be great if the clubs would also do their part, in cooperation with us."

President Michael van Praag of the Royal Dutch Football Association KNVB states that the survey results did not come as a surprise, and thinks they are 'an additional incentive to ask clubs to pay more attention to the theme of acceptance of homosexuality in professional football'. Michiel van Praag thinks that 'the acceptance of homosexuality is only a matter of perseverance,' but also points out that the KNVB has a pioneering role to play in increasing the acceptance of homosexuality in football. An example of this role is the action plan that was launched on the Coming Out Day in 2012, and participation in the Canal Parade in 2013. Part of the plan is to give workshops to discuss the subject at clubs and to train counsellors.



 







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