Video: Hitzlsperger on being gay
Thursday 09 January 2014
Thomas Hitzlsperger, the former German international who spent much of his career in England, has become the most high-profile footballer to reveal he is gay – making his announcement in protest at “anti-gay propaganda” laws in Russia before the nation’s Winter Olympics.
There remain no openly gay players in football’s upper echelons, however – the 31-year-old retired from the game last year due to injury.
Hitzlsperger, who played for Aston Villa, West Ham United and Everton as well as 52 times for Germany, revealed his sexuality in an interview with the German newspaper Die Zeit, to be published on Thursday.
Hitzlsperger said: “I’m making my homosexuality public because I would like to advance the discussion of homosexuality among professional athletes.”
He also stated the timing of his decision was linked to the Winter Olympics in Sochi next month, saying: “The Olympic Games in Sochi are approaching and I think it needs critical voices who will speak out against the campaigns run by several governments against homosexuals.”
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