Philipp Lahm, the Germany football captain, tells magazine homosexual players should keep their sexuality secret because they would be verbally abused.
Philipp Lahm and his wife Claudia Schattenberg on their wedding day Photo: GETTY
Philipp Lahm, is the star player for his club side Bayern Munich, it’s said he’s one of the best full-backs in the world and recently he said it would be "very difficult" for a footballer to be "openly gay".
Philipp got married last year, insisted he’s not homophobic and would be comfortable to learn that any of his team-mates were gay, but thinks they should stay silent, live in the closet and forget about equality.
The player’s comments will fuel the debate about homophobia in the game and could lead to him being sanctioned by the German Football Federation, the DFB. The DFB is working to combat prejudice in the game and is keen to be seen to be successful, it’s president, Theo Zwanziger, recently put put a call to all gay footballers to come out and promised them the association’s help. "I would find it brave and would welcome it if a football player would come out." he said in March
Last November, Mario Gomez, one of Lahm’s team-mates, urged gay footballers to be open about their sexuality. "Being gay should no longer be a taboo topic."
Lahm, has played for Germany 77 times and has established a foundation for disadvantaged kids, he’s been an ambassador for FIFA’s SOS Children’s Villages campaign and for World Aids Day. Other causes he’s worked for include campaigning against speeding and the battle against child abuse.
He’s talked on the subject before, 2007 saw him became the first German international to speak out against homophobia and, the following year, he was given an award for his outstanding contribution against intolerance by the Weimar Gay Triangle, a campaign group.
Lahm’s comments came in an interview with the celebrity magazine Bunte in which he said: "An openly gay footballer would be exposed to abusive elements. "For someone who does [come out], it would be very difficult."