coming out | 

Gary Lineker makes claim over gay players as he promises to make a stance at Qatar World Cup

Former England striker Lineker told the Daily Mirror he knows of two gay Premier League players

Former Leicester City player and BBC pundit Gary Lineker with the FA Cup Trophy final match at the King Power Stadium, Leicester. Picture date: Sunday March 21, 2021.© PA

Sports deskSunday World

Former England striker Lineker told the Daily Mirror he knows of two gay Premier League players, saying they had been “very close” to coming out before now.

“It would be great if one or two of them came out during the World Cup. It would be amazing,” Lineker said.

“I know for a fact that some have been very close and contemplated it. There’s a couple I know, but obviously it’s not for me to say who they are.”

The World Cup kicks off on November 20 in Qatar, a nation where same-sex sexual activity is punishable by seven years in jail, or even death by stoning for Muslim men under Sharia law.

This week Qatar’s World Cup chief Nasser Al Khater sought to give assurances to LGBTQ+ fans that they would be welcomed at the tournament, but obvious concerns remain and many are worried for their safety.

England captain Harry Kane has promised to wear a OneLove armband during the tournament, even if it is banned by FIFA.

File photo handout photo provided by the FA of England's Harry Kane wearing a OneLove captain's armband. Banning anti-discrimination armbands at the World Cup in Qatar would send out a “devastating” signal, a world players’ union chief has said. FIFA is yet to confirm whether captains from nine European nations, including England and Wales, will be permitted to wear the ‘OneLove’ armband at matches in the tournament this winter. Issue date: Friday September 23, 2022.© PA

Jake Daniels of Championship side Blackpool and Australian Josh Cavallo of Adelaide United are the highest-profile players to have come out to date.

Asked why more had not followed, Lineker said: “Fear. Fear of the unknown, I imagine. Perhaps they are worried what their team-mates might think, although they probably already know.

“It seems insane that it should even be a thing.

“People say, ‘Yeah, but the crowds.” And I say, ‘Well the crowds chant anyway’. You’re always going to get a few idiots.

“But it’s easy for me to say as I’m not in that position.”

Lineker had hoped Cavallo and Daniels would prompt other players to come out, and suggested the first Premier League player to do so would make themselves more marketable.

“I was hoping, because there are lots of players that are having to live a lie,” he said. “I’m sure it’s very difficult.

EDITORIAL USE ONLY Josh Cavallo attends the Virgin Atlantic Attitude Awards at the Roundhouse, London. Picture date: Wednesday October 12, 2022.© PA

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