Three footballers in contact with FA about coming out as gay according to MP

John Nicholson made the comments during a Department of Culture, Media and Sport hearing

ball, football

Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Donall Farmer

A British MP has said that three football players are in contact with the English Football Association about publicly coming out as gay.

John Nicholson, a member of parliament with the Scottish National Party made the comments during a Department of Culture, Media and Sport hearing into homophobia in sport.

"I understand there are three payers in talks with the FA about coming out, and they haven't done so yet," he said.

"It's good to know that you're encouraging people to come out."

Currently, there are no openly LGBT players in the English Football League.

But there have been moves to stamp out homophobia and promote tolerance and inclusion, including the rainbow laces campaign.

In 1990, former Norwich City and Nottingham Forest player Justin Fashanu became the first professional footballer to publicly reveal his sexuality.

In 2014, ex-Germany, Everton and Aston Villa midfielder Thomas Hitzelsperger came out as gay following his retirement as a player.

Current Los Angeles Galaxy and ex-Leeds United midfielder Robbie Rogers came out seven months before that.

Former NBA star John Amaechi, who came out as gay in 2007, recently spoke to Newstalk's Off The Ball about the potential for sportspeople, including footballers, to come out following the publication of a recent survey of sports fans found that many would have no issue with LGBT athletes on their teams.

He said: "Right now, people are talking about 'there are no gay people in sport'. There are tonnes of gay people in sport and many of these people are out to their friends and their families. Many of them have partners, many of them are out to some of their team-mates and, even in one case that I can think of, out to their coach."

In November 2015, Newstalk's Team 33 spoke to former East Germany youth international Marcus Urban, who had retired from football at the age of 24, before coming out as gay: