When is the first coming out of the closet of a professional footballer in France?

When is the first coming out of the closet of a professional footballer in France?

#coming #closet #professional #footballer #France

Premier League, Federation, clubs, current or past stars (Harry Kane, Gary Lineker, David De Gea) and even Prince William… The departure of Jake Daniels, made official by the Blackpool striker this Monday in a press release, caused a stir. Avalanche of positive reactions in England. At 17 years old, the neo-professional, who has just started his career in the Championship (D2), highly praised his club and his teammates in the lower categories for the support received after this announcement.

A big step forward when we remember the only English dramatic precedent: that of Justin Fashanu, in 1990. The departure of the former international candidate, then 29 years old, was generally received with hostility. Eight years later, Fashanu committed suicide.

A torrent of homophobia on social networks

Meanwhile, across the Channel, we continue to discuss “Ganagate”, following Parisian midfielder Idrissa Gueye’s refusal to wear rainbow flocking in support of the fight against homophobia, on Saturday night in Montpellier. “The inclusive policy of English football has no equivalent in France, where there is still no active player to leave,” judge Julien Pontes.

And according to the spokesperson for the Rouge Direct collective, which fights homophobia in sport, this is not going to change. “Given the level of homophobia on social media, with these thousands of messages supporting Idrissa Gueye’s decision, we quickly understand that the conditions are not right. »

Julien Pontes also highlights a concern for corporeality: “A figure like Jürgen Klopp in Liverpool is the model we expect from a coach, someone who intervenes with extreme firmness when there is homophobic behavior. He is more reassuring than a Noël Le Graët who says that he will not punish homophobia as he can punish racism [ le président de la FFF avait rectifié ses propos par la suite]. A gay player who hears that will suffer, live in hiding, lie to himself and lie to others. »

This was stated by former TFC hopeful Ouissem Belgacem, who broke the taboo last year in the very remarkable testimonial goodbye my shame (Fayard), homophobia would be the “poor relative of discrimination” in French football.

“Of course there will be an exit from the closet” in France

It is an understatement to say that Yoann Lemaire does not have exactly the same reading of the evolution of the situation. “In England they have taken a step, they welcome the former amateur soccer player, the first to reveal his homosexuality in our country, in 2004. But in France, he will also pass. Of course, it is not easy. But look, all the L1 and L2 players donned the rainbow flock jersey this weekend, only one refused. We have many projects with the FFF and the LFP. »

Under the banner of their association Foot Ensemble, the Ardennais travels around France, from training center to training center. “We did a survey in the centers, we have feedback and we know that there are young homosexuals. In one of them, we know that two children are dating. Then yes, it’s complicated, it’s taboo. But then again, of course a coming out is going to happen.

Supported by his club Adelaide United, Australian Josh Cavallo came out of the closet in October 2021.
Supported by his club Adelaide United, Australian Josh Cavallo left in October 2021. – Trevor Collens / AFP

The active player who will imitate Jake Daniels or the Australian Josh Cavallo will have to have thick skin to bear the weight of such a revelation and its consequences in the locker room or with many fans, whose open-mindedness is not the main characteristic. . “We denounce homophobic songs to the LFP every time and there have never been so many,” laments Julien Pontes. It is an incitement to hatred, a call to murder. And the LFP lets pass. In 2019, thanks to us, there were two sanctions, one against Lens after overwhelming homophobic chants in Bollaert and another in Grenoble for a banner. Otherwise it is zero. »

The LFP defends its “coherent action plan”

contacted by 20 minutes, the body that governs professional football highlights the multitude of initiatives that it organizes, and that constitute “a coherent action plan” in the long term. This Tuesday, within the framework of World Homophobia Day, he auctioned off 144 rainbow shirts worn by the players during matchday 37 of L1 and 38 of L2. Proceeds will be donated to partner associations: Foot Ensemble, PanamBoyz & Girlz United and SOS Homophobia.

A clip was also broadcast, featuring 20 L1 players including Kylian Mbappé, Dimitri Payet and Dante with the message: “Gay or straight, we all wear the same shirt.” Follows a previous video with Yannick Cahuzac, Paul Bernardoni, Adil Rami and Christophe Galtier, on the theme: “We will support the players who decide to leave.”

Olivier Rouyer is also present in this work. The former international, the first French footballer to come out as gay in 2008 when he was retired from the pitch, wants to be optimistic about the evolution of customs in France. “I honestly think, and I have been saying it for a long time, that if there were a player who declared his homosexuality, he would be supported by all the soccer players, leaders, sponsors, he assures this Tuesday in The world the former striker and then coach, now 66. Of course, you always have the crazy ones on social networks. But all football would give him all the support of him. »

Religions and homophobia

Significant hurdles remain, including one that Julien Pontes and Yoann Lemaire agree on: an interpretation of religion among many players that leads to homophobia. But according to the Foot Ensemble boss, things are moving in the right direction. “From now on, the clubs are obliged to have socio-educational references who are trained in this type of problem, says Lemaire. You should know that there are much more homophobic clubs than others. The OMs are extraordinary on this subject, with extremely attentive and interesting young people and managers, with a real depth of thought. »

So many must-haves for a French Jake Daniels to emerge soon. And that he no longer feels compelled to hide what he really is, to paraphrase the young Englishman.

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