Homophobia in sport: Football Manager to feature gay players

Missing lynx
Football Manager has sold more than 15 million copies, with players clocking up an average of 200 hours per year

Modern elite male British football is still waiting for its first openly gay player. Maybe Football Manager can help.

In this year’s edition of the computer game, players come out.

“Part of the reason we decided to do this is because there are gay footballers,” Miles Jacobson, the game’s director, told BBC Sport.

“We know from the amount of professionals that there has to be players who are gay but feel they don’t want to come out.

“I find it weird that it’s still a problem in football so we decided to try and show people that coming out isn’t a big deal and can be a positive thing.

“I just think it’s crazy that in 2017 we are in a world where people can’t be themselves.”

So how does it work?

A BBC survey found 82% would have no issue with a gay player, but 8% said they would stop watching their team.

We’re not talking about real-life players. Instead it’s the fictional, computer-generated youngsters who appear as others retire, refreshing the game’s database at the end of each virtual season.

Those who know their Football Manager call these fictional players ‘newgens’. Without them, the simulation could not progress – as it does – into the next century and beyond.