• Hegemonic masculinity;
  • inclusive masculinity;
  • homophobia;
  • football;
  • fans


This article draws on 3,500 responses from fans and professionals involved in association football (soccer) to an anonymous online survey posted from June 2010 to October 2010 regarding their views towards gay footballers. The overall findings are that, contrary to assumptions of homophobia, there is evidence of rapidly decreasing homophobia within the culture of football fandom. The results advance inclusive masculinity theory with 93 per cent of fans of all ages stating that there is no place for homophobia within football. Fans blame agents and clubs for the lack of openness and challenge football's governing organizations to oppose the culture of secrecy surrounding gay players and to provide a more inclusive environment to support players who want to come out.