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Arsenal ladies defender Casey Stoney (31) is the latest footballer to speak openly about her sexuality. FIFPro and the English Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) fully support her wish that coming out or talking about sexual orientation should not be news in the future.  

Stoney told BBC News: "It's not about me. I'm comfortable now, it's about making sure we live in a world where it's accepted, we live in a world where it's not news anymore.”

PFA Deputy Chief Executive and FIFPro Division Europe President Bobby Barnes: “For the PFA it’s important to include everyone, regardless of race, gender and sexual orientation. We all have a part to play. That is also why Stoney has become the first female member of the PFA’s management committee.”

"I've never hidden it within football circles because it is accepted," said Stoney (116 appearances for England). "But to the outside world where I've been employed or I've gone to meals and I've gone and met people, I've never spoken about my sexuality." She is now hoping that the wider world will become more accepting of gay athletes."

Barnes continues: “No player should be isolated, or feel alone. We are here to support all players. The PFA is very progressive when it comes to gay acceptance. For years, we have an anti-discrimination policy and program, to promote equality and diversity. Sexual orientation has always been a part of this program."

"Fortunately, all players that came out so far have had a positive response. I have never felt a concern from teammates. The most uncertain factor is the (opponent’s) fans. We feel that acceptance on this subject has increased. And of course we hope fans will be supportive as well on this subject.”

The PFA and FIFPro are always improving and expanding its activities. The PFA for example has talked with Thomas Hitzlsperger and Robbie Rogers to learn from their experience. Barnes: “We have created a network of players and professionals for players in need, with any kind of problem. We are in the process of launching a 24h support line for players, so they can talk about their situation anonymously.”

If the football world doesn’t have a safe environment where players dare to come out for their sexual orientation, FIFPro as a players representation must, of course, be committed to change that climate. FIFPro hopes that the positive response to the statement of Stoney gives other players the courage to come out as well, as the positive response to Tom Daley gave courage to Stoney.

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