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Giroud: Football has a long way to go before homosexuality is accepted

02:49 GMT+3 16/11/2018
Olivier Giroud Chelsea 2018-19
The striker brought the subject to the fore in 2012 when he posed for French gay magazine Tetu, and is the latest player to add to the lengthy debate

Olivier Giroud says football needs to address its stigma towards homosexuality for more professional players to come out.

The Chelsea striker made headlines in 2012 when he posed on the cover of Tetu, France's leading gay magazine, and the 32-year-old believes a lot of work needs to be done before more professional footballers are able to come out. 

Former Aston Villa midfielder Thomas Hitzlsperger is one of the few players to have made their homosexuality public, and Giroud said he was touched by the German's actions.  

"It was very emotional," he told Le Figaro. "This is when I told myself that it was impossible to display his homosexuality in football.

"In a changing room, there is a lot of testosterone - rooming together, collective showers - it's tricky but it's like that.

"I understand the pain and the difficulty of guys coming out; it's a real test after working on oneself for years. I am ultra-tolerant on it. When I was in Montpellier I was engaged in this fight by posing for [the magazine] Tetu.

"At Arsenal when they asked me to wear the 'Rainbow Laces' in support of the gay community, I did it. There is still a lot of work in the football world on this subject, to say the least."

Giroud's comments are the latest addition to a long-running debate around attitudes towards homosexuality in football. At the Brighton Pride festival in August, bookmaker Paddy Power funded a bus with the words "Official bus of gay professional footballers" emblazoned on it, and many other players and pundits have campaigned for more tolerance in the sport.

At present, there are currently no players in the Football League who are openly gay, and Liam Davis who plays for Torquay United in the National League is the only current professional footballer in England to have made his homosexuality public.

Giroud, who signed for Chelsea from Arsenal in January, is on international duty with France at the moment as Le Bleus prepare to face Netherlands on Friday evening and Uruguay on Tuesday.