West Ham's Matt Jarvis goes topless for gay magazine Attitude | inside World Soccer

West Ham player Matt Jarvis has posed for the cover of UK's best-selling gay magazine, Attitude, in an effort to break one of football's remaining taboos.

Matt Jarvis becomes only the third footballer to appear as Attitude magazine cover
Matt Jarvis becomes only the third footballer to appear as Attitude magazine cover

Photo: Attitude

The married 26 year-old is only the third footballer to appear on the cover of Attitude in its 19-year history, following on from David Beckham and Freddie Ljungberg who both appeared in the previous decade.

In an interview, the winger said there would be no issue should any footballers decide to come out.

He said: "I'm sure there are many footballers who are gay, but when they decide to actually come out and say it, it is a different story.

"It's one that I'm sure they've thought about many times. But it's a hard thing for them to do.

That view is vindicated by a recent study by the University of Staffordshire, that suggested the majority of football fans would welcome players coming out with 40 percent of fans blaming pressures from clubs and agents for keeping gay footballers in the closet.

Jarvis added: "There'd be support everywhere within the football community, whether it be players, fans or within the PFA. There would definitely be groups of people who would be supportive and help them through it.

"You've always got something you're worried about at the back of your mind. If you can let that go and then just concentrate on your one goal, which is whichever sport you're doing to the best of your ability, I think that would help. Definitely."

The first £1 million black footballer Justin Fashanu famously came out in 1990 but became the victim of torrid abuse and killed himself eight years later.

The most high-profile footballer to come out since then is Anton Hysen, a player in the Swedish lower leagues.

Matthew Todd, the editor of Attitude, believes football has a problem with homophobia and needs to tackle it in the same way it is racism.

He said: "It's ridiculous that there are no openly gay players in professional football.

"There's rightly been a focus on ridding the beautiful game of racism, but there doesn't seem to be much effort to tackle homophobia.

"We know there are gay players – and fans who support the game religiously – so I hope this starts a discussion and is a small step in the right direction."

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