Russell Tovey says he hopes that one day a premiership footballer will have the courage to come out as gay, but acknowledges that it won’t be easy for them.
Speaking on the eve of the Flare Festival which launches on today (March 16) with his film about a gay footballer The Pass, Russell said: ‘[Footballers] are going to be elevated to some level beyond what they are doing in sport and if you are the first person to [come out] then it is a terrifying prospect because of the attention that he is going to get. Football crowds are so tribal, it’s gladiatorial, and they seize on any weakness their opponents show and sadly in football being gay is still seen as a weakness.’
Nevertheless Russell hopes to see a footballer make the brave move soon: ‘I hope it happens within the next few years, it just takes one person to be brave enough to do it. Apparently there is a big sponsorship deal for the first big Premier League player to come out, a multi-million pound deal, but no one has picked it up yet.’
Back in October, it was reported that two premiership footballers were ready to come out.
The Pass has its premiere in London tonight, where it kicks off BFI Flare: London LGBT Film Festival.