Italy Coach Cesare Prandelli believes “homophobia is racism and hopefully soon some players will come out.”
The Azzurri boss wrote a preface to a new book on homosexuality in sport by Alessandro Cecchi Paone and Flavio Pagano.
“Homophobia is racism and it is indispensable that we make further steps to look after all aspects of individuals living their own lives, including sporting figures,” wrote Prandelli.
“In the world of football and of sport in general there is still a taboo around homosexuality. Everyone ought to live freely with themselves, their desires and their sentiments.
“We must all work for a sporting culture that respects the individual in every manifestation of his truth and freedom.
“Hopefully soon some players will come out.”
The book ‘Il campione innamorato’ (The champion in love) covers a series of sports including boxing, diving, rugby, tennis, athletics and cycling.
Prandelli’s position counters with that of AIC (Players’ Association) President Damiano Tommasi, who recently advised gay players to stay in the closet.
Think you know your Italian football? Share your knowledge, tips and comments to win cash prizes in OLBG's World Cup tipster competition - £10,000 to be won!