Kim Watson - Media Director GT & DIVA

A great week to come out in UK Soccer!

What better way to cheer up a deflated West Ham fan after a woeful Christmas of defeats and two back to back cup exits, with one of our former players coming out!!

Yes Thomas Hitzlsperger has come out in the hope to encourage other footballers to do the same!

This is the biggest named player to come out in the UK - The former West Ham, Everton and Aston Villa midfielder has 52 caps with the German national team to his career highlights too! He also played for Lazio in Italy! Now he is on Team Out Gay so this is one to watch in coming months in terms of the impact this news has on him as a gay role model and the effect this may have on other gay sports people coming out.

He was reported in the Guardian yesterday as saying:

"In England, Italy and Germany being a homosexual is no big thing, at least not in the dressing room," he said, before adding: "I was never ashamed of being who I am but it was not always easy to sit on a table with 20 young men and listen to jokes about gays..."

He has also been interviewed by BBC news and the clips can be seen here:

This news must be very welcome at FA headquarters too only a few days after former professional footballer and Jamaica international, Michael Johnson, stepped down from their Inclusion Advisory Body after remarking last year that he considered homosexuality "detestable"!

In the meantime I wish you all the best Thomas and thank you for taking the courage to come out so publicly, at a time when football needs it most! Perhaps you could replace Michael Johnson on this committee?

More from Kim Watson - Media Director GT & DIVA