Louis van Gaal has claimed that football does not mirror society with respect to the number of professionals who are gay.
The former Man United boss also revealed that he suspected some of his former players were homosexual but chose not to ask them out of respect and not wanting to make their lives more difficult.
Van Gaal Gay Footballers
Speaking to Dutch LGBT newspaper ‘Gaykrant’, van Gaal cited that players would need to be incredibly brave to come out and that the pressures on those who do so will be massive.
“Yes, but not many. The football world is not a mirror of society,” van Gaal said as quoted by the Daily Mirror.
“You need to be incredibly brave and you need to have a lot of strength if you want to come out. Because the football world and today’s angry society seem to deal with a different sexual choice.
“It is better for your own personality to stay close to your own feelings. But when you do come out, the pressure for a gay footballer will be massive.
“It would cause so much of a stir. You need to take so many hurdles. Can you handle that and will you feel okay with that?
“In my whole career, in all those years, not a single player has ever told me that he is gay. Really, not one! That says enough.”
Van Gaal has long been a supporter of LGBT rights. Six years ago he marched along the canal in Amsterdam as part of their Gay Pride parade.
The former Ajax, Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss feels players’ are afraid of the consequences of coming out.
“A homosexual footballer is always afraid for the consequences of coming out. I think if it would stay in the changing room, a player would be willing to share that he is gay.
“We all pretend to believe that we all have the same rights. But you guys (gay people) don’t have that. I do regret that. A massive part of my own country is still very conservative.”
The former Dutch national coach revealed he harboured suspicions around certain players sexuality. However he admitted to never question said players as he didn’t wish to make their lives more difficult.
“I did often think that players were gay. I have had my suspicions with certain players. But if a player does not want to admit it, it is better that I don’t make his life harder.
“I won’t say at which club it was, but I worked with players who I thought were gay. I want to protect those players. The majority of them are married to women and have kids. I can’t do that to them by revealing it.
“I used to ask (players) if they had a girlfriend. Only later I decided to ask if they have a partner.”