Brighton Pride: Empty bus at festival will mark absence of gay footballers in Premier League

An empty open top bus will be paraded at this weekend’s Brighton Pride Festival highlighting the “statistical anomaly” that none of the 500 top level footballers registered to play are openly gay.

The Premier League has come under fire over its attitude towards homosexuality and the bus will contain every openly gay footballer on board – therefore leaving it empty.

The stunt was organised by Paddy Power, who are partners of Brighton Pride, which is the country’s biggest LGBT+ event, and is being headlined by Britney Spears.

The Irish betting firm blamed the environment within football for not supporting players who might want to come out.

Last year, FA chairman Greg Clarke said he was aware of at least two gay Premier League players, and that he was “personally ashamed” that neither feels safe enough to come out.

Spokesman Paddy Power said: “The world’s best-watched league should reflect the community around it – in the UK, one in 50 people consider themselves LGBT+.

During the World Cup, Paddy Power donated money to LGBT+ causes every time Russia scored (Dan Jones Images Ltd)

“And yet, in the Premier League, not one player is openly gay. So we’re calling on the league to boot itself into 2018, and create a welcoming environment for its first gay player.

“We think a Premier League footballer coming out as gay would have an extraordinary effect not just on the LGBT+ community, but society in general.

“They would spearhead profound change and, club colours aside, that’s something we support more than anything else.”

This is not Paddy Power’s first foray into tackling LGBT+ issues in football.

They pioneered and launched the Rainbow Laces campaign, which got universal backing across the game.

And during the World Cup, they donated money to LGBT+ causes every time Russia scored, raising £170,000 for the Attitude Foundation, which will support the LGBT+ community in football, and earned praise from MPs.

SWNS

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