German Football Association Sets Up Support Group For Future Openly Gay Players

Germany's national football team's playeThe German Football Association (DFB) has set up a working group to help prepare clubs to deal with a professional player coming out of the locker room closet.

“We will prepare an internal guide with the assistance of outside experts,” said group leader and sports sociologist Gunter Pilz. “The idea is to help clubs and associations be prepared for a possible outing so they can help provide the best possible assistance.”

Though he did not know of any footballers planning to come out, Pilz said that “remains the personal decision of each individual.”

The only German footballer to have ever come out, Marcus Urban, who retired in the 1990s, will also be a part of the group, as well as representatives from the German Football League (DFL).

“We want to give the sports world the chance to show it’s not as intolerant as it is sometimes presented,” Urban said.

While no current Bundesliga player has come out, an interview with a closeted footballer last September prompted both German Chancellor Angela Merkel and DFB head Wolfgang Niersbach to offer their encouragement and support.

Earlier this month, West Ham footballer Matt Jarvis appeared shirtless on the cover of UK gay mag, Attitude and said that not only should gay players come out but it would probably benefit their performance.

“Because you’ve always got something you’re worried about at the back of your mind,” Jarvis said. “If you can let that go and then just concentrate on your one goal, which is whichever sport you’re doing to the best of your ability, I think that would help.”

National team captain, Philipp Lahm, advised against a gay player coming out, however, claiming he “would be exposed to abusive elements.” Lam told German magazine Bunte, “For someone who does (come out), it would be very difficult.”

Meanwhile, what are the odds we can get a support group like this over here for American football? We’re sure Chris Kluwe and Brendon Ayanbadejo would be fully on board.