Amal Fashanu, niece of the late gay footballer Justin Fashanu, has claimed that she knows of at least seven closeted players in the Premier League.
The documentary maker and fashion designer made the comments during an interview with BBC Radio 5 Live, where she explained that the footballing world is an “extremely dark” place.
She said: “Let’s be real, I actually know, myself, of seven, I will never ever share their details. Seven gay footballers, this is how it is, but I’m not going to out them because I would never do that.
“You don’t know what to do, because you want to be honest, and you want to say the whole truth, even to help them out, but you can’t do that. The footballing world is extremely dark.”
Justin, who was England’s first professional footballer to come out as gay and continue playing, committed suicide in 1998. He was also the first black footballer to command a £1 million transfer fee in 1981.
His brother, former professional footballer John Fashanu, revealed last year that he had attempted to bribe Justin with £75k in the hopes he would stay in the closet.
He said: “I was wrong. It was ignorance on my behalf. I didn’t understand him. I was trying to protect my family and I was worried about the effect on my career.”
You can listen to the interview with Amal over on BBC Radio.