9 Jan 2014 | Football

To be a gay footballer or not, that really is not the issue in question.

However, in the context of football equals life, life equals football, it throws up some important issues about society.


The context of this item has little directly to do with Thomas Hitzlsperger , but I use his story to make the point that football (like life,) is at one moment becoming more broad-minded and more inclusive while simultaneously closing its mind as exemplified by PSG’s photogenically challenged ex-Chelsea wide-boy, Alex .

Coupled with the Anelka nazi-style salute last week in support of a racist comedian, I get that feeling that football is being pulled apart by other issues and the contrast is striking.

In this blog, I have over recent years covered the growing issues around soccer racism and in the past I wrote extensively about such personalities as John Terry and Luis Suarez. Compared to these two people who can only express themselves with rudimentary racist grunts, the new breed of soccer racist is eloquent, subtle and is allied directly to the seedy Worlds of politics and entertainment. It is altogether much more frightening.

I have no idea yet how to take this further or how to analyse it but I have a strong feeling some research needs to be done into why football, of all pastimes, has become selected as a global battleground. I cannot even specify if the conflict is between liberalism and conservatism or radicalism and fascism. Certainly anyone who continues to call it a ‘mere’ sport needs to look again.

The auto-outing of/by Mr. Hitzlsperger on the other hand suggests not only a self-confidence, but a confidence in the greater soccer community and the support he has so far received from it. Clearly he didn’t ask Antonio Cassano’s opinion. Come to think of he didn’t grant an interview to Italy’s La Gazzetta dello Sport either as the story merely appears under ‘foreign football’. Giving my Italian buddies the benefit of the doubt, I like to think they are deciding where to place the story. We’ll see more tomorrow. Or maybe not.