When will the first of a professional footballer come out in France?

Premier League, Federation, clubs, current or former stars (Harry Kane, Gary Lineker, David De Gea) and even Prince William … The release of Jake Daniels, which was made official by the Blackpool striker on Monday in a press release , aroused avalanche of positive reactions in England. As a 17-year-old, the neo-professional who has just started his career in the Championship (D2), especially praised his club and his teammates in the youth teams for their support after this announcement.

A big step forward when we think back to the only dramatic English precedent: Justin Fashanus, in 1990. The former international hopefuls, then 29 years old, were generally met with hostility. Eight years later, Fashanu committed suicide.

A stream of homophobia on social networks

Meanwhile, on the other side of the channel, we are still discussing “Ganagate” after Paris midfielder Idrissa Gueye refused to wear rainbow trout in support of the fight against homophobia on Saturday night in Montpellier. “The inclusive policy of English football has no equivalent in France, where there are still no active players coming out,” referee Julien Pontes.

And according to the spokesman for the Rouge Direct collective, which campaigns against homophobia in the sport, that is not about to change. “Given the level of homophobia on social networks, with these thousands of messages of support for Idrissa Gueye’s decision, we quickly understand that the conditions are not being met.”

Julien Pontes also highlights a concern for embodiment: “A figure like Jürgen Klopp in Liverpool is the model we expect from a coach, a person who grips extremely firmly when there is homophobic behavior. It is more reassuring than a Noël Le Graët , who says he does not want to punish homophobia as he can punish racism [ le président de la FFF avait rectifié ses propos par la suite]. A gay player who hears what he wants, he wants to live in hiding, lie to himself and lie to others. »

As indicated by the former hope of TFC Ouissem Belgacem, who broke the taboo last year in the very remarkable testimony Goodbye my shame (Fayard), homophobia would be “the bad relationship between discrimination” in French football.

“Of course a coming out will happen” in France

It is an understatement to say that Yoann Lemaire does not have the exact same reading of the development of the situation. “In England they have taken a step, welcomes the former amateur footballer, the first to reveal his homosexuality in our country, in 2004. But in France it will happen too. Of course it is not easy. But look, all L1 and The L2 players put on the rainbow jersey this weekend, only one refused. We have lots of projects with FFF and LFP. “

Under the banner of his Foot Ensemble association, Ardennais travels across France, from gym to gym. “We did a survey in the centers, we have feedback, and we know that there are young homosexuals. In one of them, we know that two children are dating. After all, yes, it’s complicated, it’s taboo. But again, of course that’s going to happen. »

Supported by his club Adelaide United, Australian Josh Cavallo came out in October 2021. – Trevor Collens / AFP

The active player who wants to emulate Jake Daniels or the Australian Josh Cavallo will have to wear the thick leather to endure the weight of such a revelation and its consequences in the locker room or with many followers whose openness is not the main feature. . “We report homophobic songs to the LFP every time and there have never been so many,” Julien Pontes apologizes. “It’s incitement to hatred, an incitement to murder. And the LFP is passing. “Look for overwhelmingly homophobic shouts in Bollaert and one in Grenoble for a banner. Otherwise it’s zero.”

LFP defends its “coherent action plan”

Contacted by 20 minutes, the body that manages professional football, highlights the many initiatives it organizes and which constitute “a coherent action plan”, long-term. This Tuesday, as part of World Homophobia Day, it auctioned 144 rainbow jerseys worn by players during the 37th day of L1 and the 38th of L2. The profits will be donated to partner associations: Foot Ensemble, PanamBoyz & Girlz United and SOS Homophobia.

A clip was also released with 20 L1 players, including Kylian Mbappé, Dimitri Payet and Dante with the message: “Gays or heterosexuals, we all wear the same shirt”. It follows an earlier video featuring Yannick Cahuzac, Paul Bernardoni, Adil Rami and Christophe Galtier with the theme: “We will support players who decide to come out”.

Olivier Rouyer is also present in this work. The ex-international, the first French footballer to declare himself gay in 2008 when he retired from the field, wants to be optimistic about the development of customs in France. “I sincerely believe, and I have said it for a long time, that if there was a player who declared his homosexuality, he would be supported by all footballers, managers, sponsors, assures this Tuesday in The world the former striker and then coach, now 66 years old. Of course, you always have the crazy ones on social networks. But the whole football would give full support. »

Religions and homophobia

There are still major obstacles, including one that Julien Pontes and Yoann Lemaire agree on: an interpretation of religion among many players that leads to homophobia. But according to the leader of the Foot Ensemble, it is going in the right direction. “From now on, clubs are required to have socio-educational speakers who are trained in this type of problem, Lemaire supports. You should know that there are clubs that are much more homophobic than others. OM is exceptional on this subject, with extremely caring, interesting young people and leaders, with real depth in their thinking. ”

So many essential elements for a French Jake Daniels to soon rise. And that he no longer feels obligated to hide what he really is, to paraphrase the young Englishman.

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