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Chelsea’s Olivier Giroud says football has work to do before players feel comfortable coming out

Olivier Giroud believes football is nowhere near ready to accept openly gay footballers.

Olivier Giroud
Olivier Giroud

The Chelsea striker, who is currently on international duty with France, created a stir when he posed on the front cover of leading French gay magazine Têtu in 2012.

Ex-Germany international Thomas Hitzlsperger came out as gay in 2014 in an effort “to move the discussion about homosexuality among professional sportspeople forward.”

Giroud admits he was touched by Hitzlsperger’s story but feels the former Aston Villa midfielder’s experience shows football still has much work to do before other players can feel comfortable about coming out.

“It was very emotional,” Giroud said of Hitzlsperger coming out in an interview with French publication Le Figaro.

“This is when I told myself that it was impossible to display his homosexuality in football.

“In a changing room, there is a lot of testosterone, rooming together, collective showers – it’s tricky but it’s like that.

“I understand the pain and the difficulty of guys coming out; it’s a real test after working on oneself for years.

“I am ultra-tolerant on it. When I was in Montpellier I was engaged in this fight by posing for [the magazine] Têtu.

“At Arsenal when they asked me to wear the ‘Rainbow Laces’ in support of the gay community, I did it. There is still a lot of work in the football world on this subject, to say the least.” SkyNews