Former Leeds United director, David Haigh, has claimed that at least 20 players in the Premier League and Championship are gay, but “afraid” to come out.
He believes that if all went public “as a group” fans would accept them.
Haigh was openly gay during his time at Leeds and says many homosexual players confided in him as a result.
“Twenty is a fair number in my view, though probably a gross under-estimate,” he said.
“They are still playing, in the Premier League and Championship, but I won’t mention names as a witch hunt helps no one.
“Young stars advertise brands with sponsors and being gay is still seen as a handicap.
“To be suddenly known for their sexuality would be unsettling.
“But football needs them to go public. Those who did would be brave – but they’d get a lot of support.”
The last top player to come out, Justin Fashanu, faced widespread abuse in the 1990s.