Louis van Gaal expects that it will take a long time before a professional football player announces that he is gay. The former national team coach of the Dutch national team advises professional football players to come out.
"I hope for the community that it will not take too long before a professional football player comes out of the closet. But I am afraid it will take longer than everyone thinks and I am very sorry," said Van Gaal on Friday in an extensive interview with the Gaykrant , in the week that a simplified version of the Gay Pride takes place in Amsterdam.
The theme around gay footballers became topical again this month, after a Premier League player announced in an anonymous open letter in British tabloids that he likes men. Also in the Eredivisie there are no active players who are openly homosexual.
"There is not one player in my career who has said: I am gay. Not one. That says enough", said 68-year-old Van Gaal, who was still on a KNVB boat during Gay Pride in 2013. "There are gay professional footballers walking around, but not many. The football world is not a reflection of society either."
"Always better to come out"
Van Gaal worked as a trainer in the Netherlands, Spain, Germany and England for decades and therefore understand why footballers do not dare to come out. During his career, the born Amsterdammer often had suspicions with certain players about their orientation.
"But if someone doesn't come up with that myself, I don't want to burden him with that. I just want to protect that player. Most of them are also married to a woman and have children. I really can't do that to them," said Van Gaal, who advises players to represent their sexual orientation.
"It is always much better to come out, because you have to stay as close to yourself as possible. You do need a lot of courage and strength. Homosexuality is still seen as deviant behavior by many and even in the name of God. It will bring about a lot and you have to overcome a lot of resistance. "