Jake Daniels: Rio Ferdinand, Thomas Hitzlsperger and others commend courage of Blackpool FC player

Personalities across English football and beyond have been spreading messages of support following Jake Daniels’ courageous announcement.

Monday, 16th May 2022, 5:57 pm
Updated Monday, 16th May 2022, 7:26 pm

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Blackpool FC footballer Jake Daniels publicly reveals he’s gay

The Blackpool footballer has publicly revealed he’s gay - becoming the only openly gay male professional in Britain.

The 17-year-old made the announcement in a Sky Sports interview this evening, having already informed club officials.

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Daniels becomes only the second current male player in world football to come out as gay, following in the footsteps of Josh Cavallo, of Australian side Adelaide United.

Other former players, including former Aston Villa midfielder Thomas Hitzlsperger, came out when their careers had ended.

The only prominent male English footballer to previously reveal they were gay was Justin Fashanu, in 1990.

The world of football has united since Jake’s brave announcement. Here’s a snippet from those who have been responding:

Daniels becomes the first publicly gay male footballer in the British game since Justin Fashanu

The FA: “Jake, you are an inspiration to us all and we fully support your decision to be open about this part of yourself.

Football is a game for all, with diversity at its heart, and this is a hugely positive step as we strive to build an inclusive game that we can all be proud of.

“We are with you and we hope your story will help to give people across the game the strength and encouragement to be their true self.”

EFL chief executive Trevor Birch: “Coming out publicly in professional football will have taken great courage and I have huge admiration for Jake Daniels’ decision to do so.

“Jake’s actions will no doubt serve as an inspiration to people everywhere. The League is proud that he is part of the EFL family and has our full support.

“As our national sport, football has a huge role to play as we seek to promote equality of all forms. We hope that this moment helps take us forward to a time where LGBTQ+ representation across the men’s professional game is the norm.

“Our thanks go to Blackpool for helping create a safe space where Jake felt empowered to speak openly and League Football Education for the support provided.

“It is a fundamental principle for the EFL that our Clubs and competitions offer an inclusive and welcoming environment for all those involved in the game, whether that be players, managers, match officials, employees or spectators.

“For its part, the EFL will continue to offer its backing to Jake and to anybody else that wishes to come out in the future."

Premier League: “Football is everyone's game. We support Jake and believe football is for everyone

“Clubs and communities are stronger when everyone feels welcome, on and off the pitch. It's up to all of us to make that happen, which is why we should all speak out against discrimination and in support of the LGBTQ+ community.

“The Premier League will not tolerate discrimination of any kind. This season we introduced League-wide bans for any individual found to have behaved in a discriminatory or abusive way at matches or online.”

PFA: “We are extremely proud of Jake and have been working with him and his club. He has the complete support of everyone at the PFA.

“The PFA represents an incredibly diverse group of players across both the men's and women's games.

“The whole football community must continue to work to make our game an environment where all those involved feel safe and supported, and where they feel comfortable when choosing how to tell their own stories.

“Our message to anyone in the game who's thinking about a similar, extremely personal decision is simple - whatever you decide, and however you choose to move forward, we are here for you. As your footballing family we will give you all the support you need, whenever you need it.”

Rio Ferdinand: “Massive respect for this brave decision. Let's all help create a safe and supportive environment for LGBTQ+ people in football and beyond!”

Gary Lineker: "Well played, Jake Daniels. It’s been a brilliant season for you on the pitch and now through your bravery, off the pitch too.

"I’m sure you’ll receive huge love and support from the football community and many others will follow your path. Good luck to you.

“I honestly think that, aside from a few homophobic morons, football will be incredibly welcoming and enormously supportive towards a gay footballer.

"It’s long overdue for a player to ‘come out’ even though it’s ridiculous that it’s even necessary. A footballer is a footballer.”

Thomas Hitzlsperger: “Well done Jake Daniels, have a wonderful career! Great to see the support of Blackpool FC and Stonewall UK to make this possible!”

Preston North End: “Preston North End commend the courage shown by Jake Daniels, we hope his bravery is an inspiration for others to feel they are able to follow in his footsteps. Football is a game for all.”

Casey Stoney: “Must have taken a lot of guts. Good for you for stepping out of the mould and for being authentically you! Wouldn’t it be great if we got to a place where we didn’t have to use the words ‘guts & courage’ to describe someone being comfortable being themselves?”

Eddie Izzard: “I salute you, Jake.”

Roman Kemp: “Huge love to Jake Daniels. What a guy!”