I'm a gay referee and you'd be surprised how many footballers are homosexual… sadly there's still prejudice in sport | The Sun

UP to 40 per cent of footballers are gay, a top referee has claimed.

Brazilian Fifa official Igor Benevenuto made headlines when he bravely came out last month.

The 41-year-old had been on the list for a VAR role at the World Cup finals in Qatar, but was not chosen.

Benevenuto has now insisted homosexuality is far more widespread in football than previously thought.

No serving top-flight male player in England has come out since Justin Fashanu in 1990.

Benevenuto told German magazine Der Spiegel: "Let's take into account every person involved in football – officials, managers, players and referees.


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"Thirty to forty per cent of them are homosexual or bisexual, or have done something at one time with another man.

"You would be surprised at just who is homosexual in this industry."

Benevenuto, who has been a referee for 24 years, said he has experienced prejudice in his home country.

He added: "In Brazil homosexuality is seen as an illness similar to alcoholism, which can be overcome.

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"I believed that for years. I suffered from depression and went through dark times.

"I used to pray to God to free me from this illness.

"Sadly there is still prejudice.

"I don't expect the situation to completely alter during my lifetime.

"But I can still be a drop in the ocean of change."

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