A top football boss has spoken out about the lack of gay players in the sport.
Eddie Howe, the manager of Bournemouth football club, has become the first Premier League boss to discuss the issue.
There are currently no out gay players in fully professional football in the UK.
In an interview for the latest edition of Winq magazine, Howe said: “I would sign a gay player without hesitation if they were the right player for the club, absolutely no doubt about it.
“The football and the footballer’s character are the things that define a career, not sexuality.”
He made the comments to out Sky Sports presenter Mark McAdam, who became the channel’s first gay reporter in 2014.
Howe, 37, became the youngest Premier League football manager in 2009 and is now tipped as a future England boss.
He added: “I think it’s a mixture of things, fear among them.
“Fear of the dressing room, the media, the fans, the reaction, the commercial revenues, the perception.
“A football career is so short and fragile, it would be a risk coming out.
“And it’s a risk that no player in the modern era has wanted to take.”
FA boss Greg Clarke has said a gay player would still face significant abuse for coming out.
The Bournemouth boss said: “I can see openly gay players in the future. It’s only a matter of time.
“Like everywhere else; the face of football is changing… Football is heading in a direction of openness and acceptance and that’s the way it should be.
“The first player to come out in the Premier League era will be defining, it will be a real breakthrough moment.
“I think when that happens other players will follow suit.”
According to one MP, three football stars are in talks to come out as gay.
SNP politician John Nicholson previously said: “I understand there are three players in talks with the FA about coming out, and they haven’t done so yet.”