BERLIN: German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said that gay footballers should not be afraid to come out writes KEIR RADNEDGE.

Merkel was addressing a forum in Berlin on integration in sport in a context in which her Foreign Minister, Guido Westerwelle, and Berlin Mayor Klaus Wowerait have both made no public secret of their sexuality.

She said: β€œI believe that all those who have the inner strength and courage should know that they live in a country where they have nothing to fear. The fact that some people are nervous concerning their personal life means we must send a very clear message: Do not be afraid.”

No footballer in Germany has ever talked about being gay but this is only a question of time, according to Uli Hoeness, president of Bayern Munich.

Hoeness, who also attended the forum, said: β€œIt will happen sooner or later and all the clubs are aware of the correct way to respond.”

The issue was raised three years ago by the then president of the German federation (DFB), Theo Zwanziger, who said that gay footballers should be encouraged to come out. He was speaking to the background of a refereeing scandal which involved allegations of a homosexual approach.


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