One even brought his boyfriend to training.
A former Premier League footballer has revealed he’s played alongside several openly gay teammates.
Carl Hoefkens, a former Belgium international who played for Stoke and West Brom from 2005-2009, told Belgian news outlet De Zondag that while the players weren’t out in public, they were open about their sexuality in the locker room.
Hoefkens stated that two of his former teammates in England were gay, and that he aso played alongside gay teammate after returning to play for Belgium’s Club Brugge.
“I played alongside three gay footballers, including one who was a genuinely big name,” the 39-year-old sport star said.
He added: “They did not hide who they were in the dressing room. One was at Club Brugge, and the other two in England.”
Hoefkens added that one of the players was so open about his personal life that he even brought his boyfriend to training.
“I won’t name names as I respect their requests. One of them would even arrive at training with his boyfriend,” he said. “They asked us to keep quiet to the outside world, but don’t ask me why.”
Hoefkens, who made headlines when he posed for a gay magazine five years ago, says he finds it “strange” that homosexuality is “still a taboo in football.”
“I didn’t hesitate for a second to pose for the magazine. That was during a time of renewed violence against gays. My parents always taught me that all men are equal, including their sexual orientation.”
“I hope that a top player will one day stand up and announce: ‘I’m gay – so what?’ Then the taboo will finally disappear,” he says before claiming: “If I were gay I would do it for certain.”