Two Premier League players from the same team are reportedly in a relationship but not yet ready to come out to the public – despite sharing the happy news with teammates.
A new report in The Sun suggests the teammates wanted the focus to stay on football throughout the season and are concerned speaking publicly about their relationship could draw the attention away from their performances on the pitch.
The publication claimed the duo started dating earlier this year.
‘They did not see the need to hide from their teammates — and why should they?’ one source said.
‘But they decided not to come out publicly — although neither are ashamed and it could happen down the line.’
Their teammates, who have all been supportive of the relationship, were also asked not to publicly comment on the relationship.
The Sun previously reported a different player was in talks to be the first to openly discuss his sexuality in a TV documentary, reportedly in the works for Channel 4.
Ahead of the World Cup in Qatar later this month, an ambassador sparked outrage when he described homosexuality as a ‘damage in the mind’.
There have been mounting calls to boycott this year’s tournament over the decision to hold it in a nation as socially restrictive as Qatar.
In an interview filmed in Doha, former Qatari international Khalid Salman addressed the issue of homosexuality, which is illegal in the conservative Muslim country.
Some football players raised concerns over the rights of fans travelling to the event, especially LGBT+ individuals and women, whom rights groups say Qatari laws discriminate against.
‘They have to accept our rules here,’ Salman said, in an excerpt of the interview.
‘(Homosexuality) is haram. You know what haram (forbidden) means?’ he said.
When asked why it was haram, Salman said: ‘I am not a strict Muslim but why is it haram? Because it is damage in the mind.’ The interview was then immediately stopped by an accompanying official.
The English team will reportedly wear armbands with the words ‘One Love’ etched across them in solidarity with the LGBTQI+ community.
The nation expects more than one million visitors to arrive in anticipation of the World Cup.
Earlier this year, Blackpool’s Jake Daniels became the only openly gay male professional player in Britain.
Daniels became the first UK player to come out since Justin Fashanu in 1990, and was hailed for his bravery among other top athletes.