FA chairman vows to "stamp out" homophobia in football

Greg Clarke was speaking to MPs at a Department of Culture, Media and Sport hearing

BY Raf Diallo 19:47 Monday 17 October 2016, 19:47 17 Oct 2016

Football Association chairman Greg Clarke answers questions in front of the Commons Culture, Media and Sport select committee in London where he was asked to launch an independent inquiry into allegations of corruption within the game. Picture by PA PA Wire/Press Association Images

English Football Association chairman Greg Clarke says his organisation intends to "stamp down hard" on homophobia in football.

He was speaking to MPs at a Department of Culture, Media and Sport hearing.

There are currently no openly gay footballers playing in England's top four men's divisions.

Clarke says the culture needs to change immediately in order to create a welcoming environment.

"I would be amazed if we haven't got gay players in the Premier League and I am personally ashamed they don't feel safe to come out," he said.

"There is a very, very small minority who hurl vile abuse at people they perceive to be different. There was an example at the weekend. There were allegations at Leyton Orient versus Luton, that the Luton fans were hurling homophobic abuse at a group of men they perceived to be gay. That behaviour is disgusting and I am absolutely determined we stamp it out.

"Our job is to identify anybody guilty of persecuting, in any way, members of an ethnic or gender minority - because women get abuse too - and come down like a tonne of bricks and make sure these kinds of abhorrent behaviour are driven out."

Justin Fashanu was the first professional footballer to come out in 1990.

In 2014, former Aston Villa, West Ham, Everton and Germany midfielder Thomas Hitzelsperger came out after his retirement.

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