BBC Sport - Gareth 'Alfie' Thomas takes a look at the open homophobia in professional football.
Gareth Thomas v Homophobia: Hate in the Beautiful Game
- From the section Wales
Fifty years ago, homosexual acts between consenting male adults were decriminalised. In this documentary, former Wales and Lions rugby union captain Gareth 'Alfie' Thomas - arguably the most famous gay international sports star - takes a hard-hitting personal look at what he sees as the last bastion of open homophobia in sport - professional football.
Earlier this year a committee of MPs published a report on homophobia in sport. Whilst it praised many changes for the good, reflecting sport's acceptance and inclusion of LGBT people over the past decade, it was notably scathing and damning of football. There are around 5,000 professional footballers in the UK, so it's statistically implausible that none are gay. Yet there are no openly gay male footballers. Indeed, only one male professional footballer, Justin Fashanu, has ever come out while playing the game. He killed himself in 1998. So what is preventing gay footballers from coming out?
From Cardiff City to the House of Commons, from Arsenal to LA, Alfie meets fans, players and managers, as well as pressure groups, lawyers and police. He encounters open homophobia in the stands and suffers personal abuse by football fans online. Alfie also tries his best to meet those who run the game - but is forced to play continual 'cat and mouse' with the heads of the FA and the Premier League. Why do they seem so keen to avoid him?