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Football world supports Jakub Jankto after he comes out as gay

Czech international Jakub Jankto has become the highest profile male footballer to come out as gay.

The 27-year-old Getafe midfielder, currently on loan at Sparta Prague, made the announcement via video on social media on Monday (13 February).

After introducing himself, the former Sampdoria player said, “Like everybody else, I have my strengths, I have my weaknesses, I have a family, I have my friends. I have a job which I have been doing as best as I can for years, with seriousness, professionalism and passion.

“Like everybody else. I also want to live my life in freedom, without fears, without prejudice, without violence, but with love. I am homosexual and I no longer want to hide myself.”

His parent club, Getafe, quickly put out a message saying, “Our maximum respect and unconditional support to our footballer Jakub Jankto.”

A number of clubs and football leagues, including the English Premier League, also posted their backing of the 45-cap Czech international.

And FIFA, world football’s governing body, followed suit.

History of gay athletes in men’s football

Unlike in women’s football, coming out has been considered a taboo subject in the men’s game.

Former England U21 forward Justin Fashanu is widely acknowledged to be the first footballer to come out as gay.

The Englishman did so late in his career in 1990 and was then a constant target of abuse from spectators.

Defender Thomas Berling, who represented Norway at U19 level, retired aged 21 in 2000 citing homophobia in the game.

In 2013, USA international Robbie Rogers revealed his sexual orientation and retirement from football after being released by English side Leeds United.

The left winger quickly reversed his decision to quit the game, signing for LA Galaxy and becoming the first out gay man to play in a major North American sports league.

In October 2021, Jake Cavallo of Australian A-League side Adelaide United became the first active professional in a men’s top-flight league to come out.

Credit: Olympics

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