Barton calls for players to change football's 'archaic' attitudes towards homosexuality
Joey Barton has suggested potential discrimination from 'archaic' club managers is to blame for a lack
of openly gay footballers in Britain.
The QPR midfielder, who revealed his uncle is gay, has called on his fellow players to change attitudes towards homosexuality in the game.
None of Britain's 5,000 professional players is openly gay. But, while Barton says he believes that will change in the next 10 years, he also fears some in the football world would not accept such a player.
Show of support: Joey Barton has spoken out on homosexuality
Barton revealed that his father's brother had hidden his sexuality for years due to the fear of society rejecting him.
The former Newcastle and Manchester City man was speaking out in support of gay players in a documentary due to be aired on BBC Three on Monday night.
Barton said: 'It's a subject quite close to my heart because my dad's youngest brother, the youngest of my uncles, is gay. And I didn't know for a long, long time.
'He thought because of the society that we were brought up in, which was quite working class, that it would be frowned upon or that we would disown him.
Damning truth: Justin Fashanu, who died in 1998, is still the only British footballer to be openly gay
'So for a lot of years he was in turmoil and was resenting himself for the fact he had these feelings.
'I was like, “I love you for you – not for the fact that you are straight or bisexual or all different manner of things. I love you because you're you”.'
The show, Britain's Gay Footballers, is a TV investigation by Amal Fashanu, whose uncle, Justin, is still the only British professional footballer to have revealed his homosexuality, in 1990.
Barton added: 'There is no doubt in my mind that in the next 10 years we have an openly gay footballer.
'My only fear is that certain managers and individuals within the game will discriminate against people.
'These archaic figures think if they had a gay footballer, they would have all kinds of shenanigans going on in the dressing room.
'That's not the case. As I say it's more fool them and their lack of social awareness and intelligence.
'I pity them a little bit that they don't have enough about them – enough self-confidence or enough self-worth – to be able to say, “Know what This is a relevant subject and this is my opinion on it”.
'And I think it's important that the legacy this generation of players leaves is a generation of players that help not only change the game for the better and change the teams they played in, but also change the culture and the society of the football clubs they played at.'