German football captain Philipp Lahm

German football captain Philipp Lahm has cautioned gay players about coming out, saying that they would make things difficult for themselves by doing so.

“For someone who does, it would be very difficult,” he told Bunte magazine, adding that “an openly gay footballer would be exposed to abusive comments”.

The 27-year-old denied that this advice reflects his personal views on gay teammates: “I have no problems with homosexuals whatsoever”.

The football world has long been accused of fostering an anti-gay environment that limits gay players from coming out.

There is only one openly gay professional football player in the world. Twenty-year-old Swedish footballer Anton Hysén came out in March to much publicity but he plays for a minor side.

The German Football Federation has promised to assist any player who wishes to come out. “I would find it brave and would welcome it if a football player would come out,” its president, Theo Zwanziger Zwanziger, said recently.

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