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FIFPro is supporting a campaign to stop homosexuality being a taboo in men's football.

The world players union joins Dutch club PSV and PriceWaterhouseCoopers among others backing the “Heroes of Football” campaign that wants to ensure men and women footballers don’t feel the need to hide their sexuality.

No current top-level men’s player in Europe has felt confident enough to say he is gay and Theo van Seggelen, general secretary of FIFPro -- which represents more than 60,000 players in 60 countries -- said football should be more open to diversity.

 “Everyone should feel at home in our sport,” Van Seggelen said. “No player should feel uncomfortable or frightened because of his or her race, religion or sexuality.”

The European Commission is helping to fund “Heroes of Football,” which is championing men and women in football who have spoken out about their sexuality.

The first two are Jesus Tomillero who has vowed to carry on as a football referee even after receiving homophobic abuse in Spain, and amateur Dutch player Danilo Verboom who has spoken about being homosexual. In a campaign image above, Tomillero and Verboom are pictured alongside the silhouettes of 10 players.

Other players who have "come out" include Robbie Rogers, who plays for Los Angeles Galaxy, and former Bayern Munich player Thomas Hitzlsperger who announced he was homosexual after he stopped playing. Both are supporting the campaign.

Rogers said his decision means he no longer has to "carry around this secret that just kind of kills your insides."

Ajax women's player Merel van Dongen, who says it is easier "to be who you are" in women's football, is also supporting the campaign.

She was at the launch at the Amsterdam Arena stadium last month along with representatives from 10 European football federations including England, France, Spain and Turkey.

Michael van Praag, the Dutch federation president, said he has been shocked by personal stories he has heard about gay players since he started in the role eight years ago.

“Homosexuality was and still is a great taboo,” Van Praag said.  “That 50% of homosexual youth have sometimes thought of suicide affects me deeply. As football leagues, we must not accept this.”

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