At least 12 top Premier League football stars are secretly gay.
The superstar dozen are even scared to confess their homosexuality to their team-mates.
At a forum to launch an anti-homophobia campaign, pundit and ex-England Under-21 star Paul Elliott, 44, said he knew 12 top current players who were gay.
The ex-Chelsea defender, who advises the Equality and Human Rights Comm- ission, said he would never reveal the names.
But last night the gay stars were challenged to come out of the closet to help the bid to drive homophobia out of the game.
FA chiefs have extended their Kick It Out campaign – which has helped tackle racism – to include homophobia.
The move comes after sick taunts were aimed at Sol Campbell, 34, when he played for Portsmouth against ex-club Spurs.
Human rights activist Peter Tatchell, 56, said: “Bigotry has no legitimate place in any sport.
“Homophobia is no more acceptable than racism. The FA could privately sound out several gay and bisexual Premier League players about a collective coming out.”
England goalie David James, 38, said: “Football, it seems, is one of the last professional environments where you can’t be out and proud. In every other entertainment industry we have gay stars. Why should football be different?”
But ex-manager Alan Smith said: “Being openly gay would be something difficult to live with in football.
“You can get drunk and beat up your wife and that’s quite acceptable but if someone were to say: ‘I’m gay’ it’s considered awful. It’s ridiculous.”
I know it’s only the Star but it does raise a good point, why is football just about the only place in the entertainment industry where it is nigh on impossible to come out?
Are we as football fans really that homophobic, insecure or just plain stupid?