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Gay rugby star urges FA to break down prejudice

FORMER Welsh rugby captain Gareth Thomas has urged the English Football Association to make a public statement in support of gay footballers to break down homophobic prejudice in the game. Speaking in a BBC documentary, Britain's most high-profile, openly gay sportsman claims talented players would continue to be frightened away from a professional career unless the sport took action to create a more welcoming atmosphere.

"I think if the FA were to make a statement saying . . . we will stamp on anything, then it would create a safer environment that's comfortable for the footballers," said Mr Thomas (37).

He was interviewed for a documentary, 'Britain's Gay Footballers', which is to be shown on BBC3 tonight.

It is presented by Amal Fashanu, a model whose uncle, Justin Fashanu, was the last openly-gay professional footballer. The former Norwich City and Nottingham Forest striker, who suffered homophobic abuse after coming out, committed suicide in 1998. (©Independent News Service)

Irish Independent