President of German FA supports coming out of lesbian and gay players20 December 2007

A gay Bundesliga footballer? A lesbian international? According to the statistics there should be dozens of them, but in Germany they do not exist as yet. There are no openly homosexual football stars. The fear of negative effects is too great.

The president of the German Football Association (DFB), Dr Theo Zwanziger, has now broken a taboo by speaking about lesbians and gays in German football for the first time in public.

“I can't force anyone to show civil courage”, Zwanziger told L-Mag, Germany's sole magazine for lesbians. But the DFB president would very much welcome it if a player, male or female, were to come out: “It would certainly be desirable if someone had the courage to say it.” Zwanziger guaranteed that he and the DFB would offer support to any lesbian or gay player who decides to come out.

Discrimination against homosexuals in football takes many forms, including homophobic chanting on the terraces and bullying in clubs and teams. The DFB wants to do all it can to stop this, and has already contacted the European Gay and Lesbian Sport Federation (EGLSF). It also recently signed a “Declaration against discrimination in football”.

In the interview with L-Mag, Zwanziger promised that the DFB would offer its full support in educating coaches, referees and clubs about lesbians and gays in football.