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LGBTQ campaign backed by German footballers hailed as a 'step in the right direction'

February 18, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.

Compression ratio: 70.2%. 2 min read.

More than 800 professional footballers in Germany have backed a campaign offering support to LGBTQ players.

(CNN)More than 800 professional footballers in Germany have backed a campaign offering support to LGBTQ players.

The campaign has been launched by the magazine 11Freunde (11 Friends) and includes statements from several Bundesliga stars, including Hertha Berlin's Dedryck Boyata, Borussia Mönchengladbach's Christoph Kramer and FC Köln's Jonas Hector.

The latest issue of the magazine features a number of different cover stars holding signs that read: "You can count on us!" Fans have also been sharing images with the same message on social media.

"Even in 2021, there will not be a single openly homosexual footballer in the German men's professional leagues," said a statement from the players backing the campaign.

"The fear of being attacked and ostracized after coming out and of jeopardizing one's career as a professional footballer is apparently still so great that gay footballers believe they have to hide their sexuality.

that is why we say to all those who are struggling with this decision: We will support and encourage you and, if necessary, also defend you against hostility.

A number of clubs also voiced their support for the campaign on social media, including top tier sides Köln and Freiburg.

Meanwhile, Thomas Hitzlsperger, the former German international who came out as gay following his retirement from professional football in 2014, tweeted: "Another step in the right direction -- well played, 11Freunde. "

Football still has much work to do when it comes to improving attitudes toward the LGBTQ community.

In the English game, for example, a report by anti-discrimination group Kick It Out revealed a 95% rise in reports of abuse based on sexual orientation during the 2019/20 season.

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