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Merkel: gay footballers should have no fear

The Local · 14 Sep 2012, 11:29

Published: 14 Sep 2012 11:29 GMT+02:00

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"I am of the opinion that anyone who sums up the strength and bravery - and we have a long tradition of this behind us in politics - should know that they live in a country where they have nothing to fear," said Merkel at a forum in Berlin to discuss integration in sport.

"The fact that there are still fears for some people for their own situation means we need to send out a clear message: you must not be afraid."

While senior political figures, such as German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle and Berlin's mayor Klaus Wowereit, have come out, no current German Bundesliga footballer has revealed his homosexuality.

Bayern Munich president Uli Hoeneß said it was only a matter of time before a Bundesliga player comes out.

"It will happen, sooner or later. All clubs are advised to prepare for this topic, so they will have good answers," said Hoeneß, speaking at the same Berlin forum as Merkel under the slogan "Go your own way".

He also said it would be crucial to "protect as much as necessary" any footballer who were to come out. But the subject is not new in German football.

Back in 2009, former German Football Federation (DFB) president Theo Zwanziger first said footballers should be supported if they wanted to come out and he repeated himself when he left office this January.

Last year, Germany striker Mario Gomez said openly gay footballers "would play as if they had been liberated. Being gay should no longer be a taboo topic."

But national team captain Philipp Lahm advised against it: "An openly gay footballer would be exposed to abusive elements," he told German magazine Bunte last year.

"For someone who does (come out), it would be very difficult."

Story continues below…

But a gay Bundesliga footballer, who insisted on anonymity, told German magazine Fluter this week he faced a daily battle of fear and denial, insisting he would not feel safe if his sexuality was revealed.


The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

12:38 September 14, 2012 by The-ex-pat
Try telling that to the small number of small minded followers of this sport. It the Köln player thinks he has problems, just wait until the first Bundesliga footballer comes out................
12:38 September 14, 2012 by KyleHawkins
The nerve of this woman. "hey, come out of the closet... no reason to fear" Also... "although, you don't deserve equal rights when it comes to taxation or inheritance, adoption or recognition from the government". Unbelievable.
14:37 September 14, 2012 by Onlythetruth
We're all denied the right to be taxed like a normal married couple if we marry a man so no discrimination there.
14:44 September 14, 2012 by KyleHawkins
also unbelievable.
15:02 September 14, 2012 by Berlin fuer alles
So it is Philip Lahm then. He is married to a woman for tax purposes and does not want to "come out" for fear he jeopardises his tax advantages.
18:20 September 14, 2012 by mitanni
Merkel's government is treating homosexuals as second class citizens and morally inferior. Her government is paying vast amounts of money to the catholic church, which insults and denigrates homosexuals. And now she is trying to pretend to be tolerant with such meaningless statements. Merkel is a hypocrite and political opportunist.
04:07 September 15, 2012 by Anee-One
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
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