The popular Football computer game Football Manager has announced that players will be able to come out as gay in the newest version of the game’s franchise.
There has never been an openly gay Footballer in the Premier League, and Sports Interactive, the company behind the Football Manager game franchise, is doing their bit to help tackle the stigma surrounding homosexuality in Football.
Thomas Hitzlsperger, formerly of Aston Villa, West Ham and Everton came out as gay four months after retiring from professional Football and stated that he “could not imagine playing Football and doing this at the same time”.
Robbie Rogers came out in 2013 and left English Football soon after, joining LA Galaxy. The most tragic case of homosexuality in Football is undoubtedly that of Justin Fashanu, who took his own life in 1998 after coming out seven years earlier.
The director of Football Manager Miles Jacobson has explained the decision to include this new feature in the game “I find it weird that it’s still a problem in Football so we decided to try and show people that coming out isn’t a big deal and can be a positive thing”.
No real players will be coming out on the game as there would be issues with privacy and legality; it will only be fictional, computer generated players that appear later in the game that will be able to come out.
A survey conducted by the BBC last year showed that whilst 82 percent of people would have no issue with a gay player in their team, 8 percent would stop watching their team altogether if on their players came out as gay.
It’s estimated that least year Football Manager sold around 15 million copies worldwide, and the game’s makers at Sports Interactive are hoping that they’ll be able to influence their audience for the better.