Lippi would not exclude gay players | inside World Soccer

Lippi would not exclude gay players

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Italian national team coach Marcello Lippi claims he knows no gay football players and would not exclude them from the selection just for their sexual inclinations.

Former Juventus general manager Luciano Moggi said last year that he would have immediately frozen out any player he thought was gay, but Lippi is far more open.

Lippi, speaking on a video podcast by Italian PR company Klaus Davi, said: "I don’t think there are any gay players, or at least in 40 years of my career I have never met any.

"It could well be that there are a few with these tendencies, but they don’t go around telling people about it.

"Considering the way football players are, it really would be a complicated condition to deal with in the locker room.

"But I would never exclude anyone from the Nazionale just for their sexual inclinations.

"If someone came to me and confessed they were gay, I would advise them to not let any of that affect them, just concentrate on their profession and feel free to do what they want in their private lives."

Former Italian gay association Arcigay chief, Franco Grillini, praised Lippi for coming out and being the first national coach to say he wouldn't discriminate against gays.

Grillini said this was 'positive news' but went on: "Unfortunately, I'm sorry to say that Lippi's eyes must be covered in ham if he can state, with frankly misplaced certainty, that there are no gays in Italian football.

"Gays in football are forced to have fake girlfriends and lead a double life.

"Italian football did not have only gay players, but also gay coaches, organisers, journalists and many gay referees.

"Let's start a campaign like in England to make football a sport without machismo or hate."

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