Leeds United's Patrick Bamford part of Channel 4 documentary exploring football's homophobia issue

The Leeds United striker will discuss what coming out might look like for a Premier League player alongside a host of voices from across football in a brand-new documentary.

By Flora Snelson
Thursday, 20th January 2022, 12:47 pm

Football's Coming Out, set to be released on Tuesday January 25, is a brand-new digital documentary which will ask why barriers to coming out still exist in one of the world's most popular sports.

In a one-off sixty minute programme, the production will look into the challenges facing a Premier League footballer should they choose to come out publicly as LGBTQ+.

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Since Justin Fashanu came out as gay in October 1990, no openly gay footballers have played in the top flight of English football.

Last year Josh Cavallo, who plays for Australian top-flight team Adelaide United came out as gay, hoping that he could encourage those who identify as LGBTQ+ to feel welcome in the football community.

Former Leeds United player Robbie Rogers is one of just a handful of professional players who have played in the UK to have publicly shared their homosexuality - there are currently no openly gay players in any of England's top four leagues.

Football's Coming Out, produced by Bullion Productions, will ask why, discussing the issue from several angles and exploring the impact of coming out on a range of parties such as fans, press, financial sponsors, social media and fellow players.

Leeds United striker Patrick Bamford. Pic: George Wood.

Using archive footage and historic case studies, Football's Coming Out will review what has happened in the past while exploring a possible 'roadmap' to coming out in the Premier League today.

The Whites striker Patrick Bamford will be among the line-up of high-profile football voices discussing what the experience might look like.

Joining him is former top-flight centre-back Joleon Lescott, ex-Premier League manager Ian Holloway, Amal Fashanu - niece of Justin Fashanu and founder of the Justin Fashanu Foundation, openly gay Thetford FC footballer Matt Morton, among many others.

Ahead of the production's release next week Thomas Pullen, Digital Commissioner for Channel 4, laid out his hopes for the documentary.

Justin Fashanu became the first professional footballer to come out as gay in 1990.

“This important and compelling documentary has been over a year in the making and it’s great that we are finally able to bring it to our audiences on All 4 and Channel 4’s YouTube channel," Pullen said.

"In the doc, we have spoken to a series of incredibly bold figures from the football industry who have all been open and willing to contribute to this much needed and crucial conversation on LGBTQ+ representation in the one of the most popular sports in the world.

"I sincerely hope that this documentary can be a springboard for more conversation around a subject that is still deemed taboo by many and by watching this documentary, LGBTQ+ players current and future can feel encouraged to be their most authentic selves in the sport they love.”

Jack Newman, Bullion Executive Producer said: “We are extremely proud of this documentary which comes at a crucial moment in time for discussions of LGBTQ+ representation in top tier football.

Former Everton and Manchester City defender Joleon Lescott.

"At Bullion we have always tried to champion unheard and underrepresented stories.

"Working with Channel 4 and our array of important contributors, we hope that the documentary furthers these conversations and works as a road map for those players who are yet to come out publicly.”

Football's Coming Out will be available to stream on All 4 and Channel 4's YouTube channel from Tuesday January 25.

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A still from Channel 4 documentary Football's Coming Out. Pic: Channel 4.