Football chiefs must root out homophobia and have zero tolerance for abuse


WHY is a sport, so united behind rooting out racism, still too homophobic for a gay Premier League star to come out?

At a time when players are increasingly and commendably socially aware, why is it he cannot bring himself to trust them with the secret of his sexuality?

The anonymous star’s open letter is powerful, thought­provoking and profoundly sad.

Especially because the fear of being outed prevents him even from establishing a serious relationship.

“I don’t think football is ready yet,” he writes. “There is still a huge amount of prejudice. What those running the game need to do is educate fans, players, managers, agents and club owners.”

This is all true. But the greatest problem, of course, is a tiny hardcore of neanderthal supporters whose bigotry is cemented in the past.

Zero tolerance and life bans for homophobic abuse, plus huge fines or other penalties for clubs, are a must if the culture is to change.

It is decades since being gay was taboo.

How shameful that in 2020 it effectively remains so in our national game.

OUR exaggerated fear of catching Covid is making the economic damage far worse.

It is alarming, given the huge efforts to keep diners safe, that still only a fifth of us would happily go to a restaurant.

Madness has set in. Our dread, justified at the start of the pandemic when the Government told us to stay home, has failed to abate even as infections and deaths have plummeted and we have learned more and more about it.

Boris Johnson is now reduced to imploring us to return to work.

Just one in 3,900 in England now has the disease. Of every 3,900 people, 3,899 on average will be Covid-free. Shunning shops or pubs is barmy. And ­millions may pay for it with their jobs.

This weekend, go to the pub, go for a coffee, eat at a restaurant.

Help save someone’s livelihood.

EVEN among a fair few crazy Covid edicts, the “beards but not brows” ruling for salons takes top prize.

A woman can’t have a facial or get her lashes or eyebrows done from Monday even if everyone’s in a mask.

A man CAN have his beard trimmed, even though he’ll have to take his mask off. How will that be “safely” performed? With garden shears strapped to a pole?

Culture Minister Caroline Dinenage tried to justify it yesterday by blithely trusting “scientists who understand a great deal more about this than I do”.

We’ve heard too much of that.

It’s not hard to imagine the blokes at Public Health England giving beards the nod over female eyebrows.

And all the lads in Downing Street nodding sagely along.

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