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Dublin: 0°C Saturday 23 January 2021

Ireland's only gay football team welcomes RTÉ doc on homophobia in the sport

Stephen Byrne explored why there has been such a reluctance for gay players to come out.

Crystal Palace manager Alan Pardew speaking on RTÉ documentary
Crystal Palace manager Alan Pardew speaking on RTÉ documentary
Image: YouTube/RTÉ2

IRELAND’S ONLY GAY football team has welcomed an upcoming documentary which focuses on homophobia in the game.

The Dublin Devils said homophobia in sport is brushed under the carpet and is something which is not discussed enough.

Speaking in advance of the programme, which will air on RTÉ2 tomorrow evening at 9.30pm, club chairman John McAree described the documentary as an opportunity to open a discussion on homophobia in sport in Ireland today.

He said:

Homophobia in sport is something we brush under the carpet and don’t discuss enough. Whilst we have come a long way in creating an equal society for the LGBTI community, we have a long way to go when it comes to the football terraces.

“There are no gay voices in football which means that young LGBT footballers have no one to look to as a role model.

“The club welcomes anything which raises the issue of homophobia in sport. Our sexuality does not define us in the club. We see ourselves as a group of gay men who love to watch, support and play football.”

The documentary, Playing Straight, presented by Stephen Byrne, explores why there has not been an openly gay footballer to play in the English top flight.

After asking every manager in the Premier League for an interview, only Crystal Palace boss Alan Pardew agreed to speak on the issue.

He told the documentary that the game needs someone to break down the barrier.

Pardew said: “From my time at Newcastle, West Ham, and here, I’ve never seen an anti-gay thing going on in the coaching area. That kind of homophobic view, I’ve never experienced it, never. I really haven’t

You get the odd bit of banter in the dressing room, and that’s about it. That’s about as much as I’ve ever seen.

“My view on the gay community is that they need someone in football to come out. Someone needs to break that barrier down. It would be great, it really would.”

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