While out sports stars aren't the rarity they once were, from Olympic diver Matthew Mitcham to rugby star Gareth Thomas and most recently England cricketer Steve Davies, being gay in the world of international football remains a taboo. Perhaps hoping that his presence in the game will break that silence is 20-year-old Swedish footballer Anton Hysen who this week disclosed his sexuality to Offside magazine.
Hysen, who plays for Swedish 4th tier side Utsiktens BK, is the son of former Liverpool defender Glenn Hysen and is thought to be the only player currently playing in Sweden to have come out, and is possibly the only player in Europe who is publicly open about being gay at this time.
Hysen is defiant that, while in reality his decision to come out may have an impact on his career, his sexuality should not hinder his chances of progressing to play among the top-flight teams because it makes no difference to his abilities on the pitch.
Hysen told Offside magazine that it was “f***** up” that no other Swedish player had come out yet.
He said: “I am a footballer. And gay. If I perform as a footballer, then I do not think it matters if I like girls or boys.”
As yet, no top footballer in this country has come out, despite major stars in other sports doing so.
Welsh rugby favourite Gareth Thomas and England cricketer Steve Davies are among those to have declared that they are gay.
Hysen admitted that his announcement could affect his career, but added: “People may call me anything they want, it will just make me even more psyched.”
Anton’s father Glenn joined Liverpool in 1989, and helped the Reds to their 18th league title in his first season. He left the Merseyside giants in 1992.