Writer: J P Fear
Date:Sunday November 14 2010
We at Vital helped get an audience of avid football fans to participate in a survey about opinions on gay players. See a summary of results as below.
Now their research has moved on to another football related topic.
Thanks for your support with the gay footballers project. I received over 3,500 responses from supporters across the world which was fantastic. I'm now focusing on a project surrounding whether the game needs video technology or not. Could you possibly post this on your site again.
'A colleague and I at Staffordshire University are carrying out an online survey on fans' views towards video technology in football. Fans continue to pay for tickets, subscriptions and merchandise but they are often the last to be consulted on many decisions. We've decided to put this to the test. The address is: www.topfan.co.uk and the site is being managed by Staffordshire University (where I am employed).'
So if you can, give them a helping hand, it all helps get the football fans voice out there as well.
Results to previous survey:
TOPFAN PROJECT: FINDINGS, BASED ON SAMPLE OF 3,500 FANS AND PROFESSIONAL PLAYERS, MANAGERS, COACHES AND REFEREES
THERE ARE GAY FOOTBALLERS AND ONE WILL COME OUT … BUT NOT FOR 2 YEARS
30% of players, managers, coaches and refs know gay professional players.
67% of fans, players, coaches, managers and refs say at least one gay footballer will come out, but not for at least 2 years.
91% insist only a players` performance on the field is relevant. A 9% minority opposes the presence of gay players in football.
92% say the media has no right to "out" gay players, though many suspect this is what will happen when, for example, an ex-lover sells a kiss-and-tell story to the media.
81% see parallels between the present condition and the racist environment of the 1980s. The homophobic element, though small, will influence others unless gay players are emboldened to reveal themselves.
There is a 50-50 split on whether gay players would suffer abuse from other players if they came out.
ONE GAY PLAYER WILL MAKE ALL THE DIFFERENCE
"One person finally having the courage," as one participant puts it. A Gareth Thomas-like player will be the single biggest influence in changing the attitude of football on homosexuality, according to over half (52%).
Over 8 out of 10 thought that openly gay players would ultimately have the same positive effect on football as black players did in the 1980s and 1990s when racism on the terraces was killed off.
Fans and professionals suspect the homophobia that has surfaced recently is the result of a minority, though, like racism in the 1980s, it has the capacity to spread. There is only lukewarm confidence that campaigns, such as "Kick it Out" can prevail: much more convincing would be a demonstration from football`s main organizations and a voluntary disclosure from a high profile player of his sexuality. The alternative is to ignore a festering problem and allow a possible repetition of the 1980s.
Other reasons predicted include: being outed by a lover, an involuntary outing by the media, a global Fifa campaign against homophobia, and cultural changes which make homosexuality "uninteresting" - what one fan called "the evolution of society." Another respondent stated: "A player finally having the courage to ruin their career by coming out. But it will be the end of their career as anything other than a 'gay footballer`". Another believes this could prove profitable: "He could make a lot of money [as] the first gay footballer." But only, "when football joins the 21st century."
where is the PRESSURE TO REMAIN SILENT IN 2010?
84% maintain that, even in 2010, there is pressure on gay players to stay in the closet.
46% think that pressure to stay in comes from the clubs, while 45% think the pressure comes from agents. Less than 10% feel the pressure is from the players` families.
The minority (16%) do not believe there is pressure nowadays.
46.72% believe that players consider it "no one else`s business": they just please themselves.
WHAT HAPPENS IF THE MEDIA DISCOVER A PLAYER IS GAY?
Overwhelmingly, fans, players and other professionals insist that the media should not intrude on players` private affairs.
92% believe the media have no right to out a player even if they know definitely he is gay.
An even greater number (94%) considered it a player`s own business whether or not he chooses to declare his sexual orientation, even if he were the England team captain.
Some fans strongly believe that some newspapers are especially vigilant in searching for gay footballers. One speculated that there would soon be a sting to ensnare a gay footballer and another thought a spurned lover would sell his story to the media. The proliferation of super-injunctions feeds this kind of speculation.
Date:Sunday November 14 2010
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