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Football Manager 2018 to feature gay players

17:59 GMT+3 30/10/2017
Football Manager 2018
For the first time, this year's edition of the popular managerial simulation will include players coming out

Football Manager 2018 will feature gay players for the first time in the game's history. 

A manager in the game will receive a message in their in-game inbox notifying them that a player on their team has decided to come out as gay. 

These will never be real players but instead will be the fictional, computer-generated characters that begin to emerge as seasons progress and real players begin to retire. 

"Part of the reason we decided to do this is because there are gay footballers," Miles Jacobson, the game's director, told BBC Sport.

"We know from the amount of professionals that there has to be players who are gay but feel they don't want to come out.

"I find it weird that it's still a problem in football so we decided to try and show people that coming out isn't a big deal and can be a positive thing.

"I just think it's crazy that in 2017 we are in a world where people can't be themselves."

Jacobson said that he consulted with anti-discrimination group Kick it Out for the game, and will attempt to construct as realistic of a scenario as possible in FM 2018.

"It's not a message that everyone is going to see in their game. It is quite rare, but we want it to be seen as a positive thing," he added.

"We also had to take some legal advice, because in some countries that are less forward-thinking than the UK, it is still illegal to be gay. In those cases we have simply respected their laws, so if a player is based in one of those countries, the player won't come out.

"Being gay is just a totally normal thing in life, and it's the right thing to put it in the game because it's something that we're going to be seeing in the future."

To date, there has not been an openly gay man in top-level British football. Former US national team and Leeds United player Robbie Rogers became the first openly gay man to compete in a top North American professional sports league when he played his first match for the LA Galaxy in 2013.