MX23RW : Monday, August 20 15:24:44

Brighton Pride to have empty open-top bus for "gay professional footballers"

Brighton Pride to have bus for 'openly gay PL players'
© Reuters
An empty open-top bus will be paraded at this weekend's Brighton Pride Festival to highlight that none of the 500 Premier League footballers are openly gay.

An empty open-top bus has been scheduled to be paraded at this weekend's Brighton Pride festival highlighting the "statistical anomaly" that none of the 500 top-flight footballers registered to play is openly gay.

The stunt has been organised by Paddy Power, which is a partner of Brighton Pride, and is designed to criticise what some have deemed an indifferent attitude to homosexuality by the Premier League.

Indeed, the Irish betting firm has blamed the environment within football for not supporting players who might want to come out.

"The world's best-watched league should reflect the community around it – in the UK, one in 50 people consider themselves LGBT+," a Paddy Power spokesman is quoted by The Independent as saying.

"And yet, in the Premier League, not one player is openly gay. So we're calling on the league to boot itself into 2018, and create a welcoming environment for its first gay player.

"We think a Premier League footballer coming out as gay would have an extraordinary effect not just on the LGBT+ community, but society in general. They would spearhead profound change and, club colours aside, that's something we support more than anything else."

Paddy Power pioneered and launched the Rainbow Laces campaign, which got universal backing across the game.

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A general view of outside the ground before the Sky Bet League One match between Bradford City and Brentford at the Coral Windows Stadium on September 7, 2013
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