[The Sun] A sports star wants to come out as gay – but his club is worried about a backlash from fans.
The Premier League ace has even been told not to make a public declaration without their blessing.
He is continuing talks with bosses who are seeking assurances his announcement won’t derail their season.
A source close to the household name star said: “It’s a huge decision for the player to go public about being gay.
“But after telling his club, officials have expressed reservations.”
The top player, his agent and team officials have discussed him clarifying his sexuality for months.
The Sun’s insider said: “The club has been supportive but is anxious about a backlash from fans.
“Ideally they want another player to ‘come out’ first, so they are not the centre of attention.
“The club wants the best for the player and realises he should be celebrated for being so brave and willing to be open about his sexuality.
“But bosses are anxious a public announcement does not consume the club.”
The star’s desire to come out has been widely discussed by his team-mates in WhatsApp groups.
They have been supportive and accused the club of being “stuck in the past”.
One of the gay player’s colleagues said: “He’s a little disappointed with the club for worrying about the reaction of fans.
“It is a positive story and he deserves to be treated as a trailblazer.”
Last year, The Sun told how two Premier League team-mates bullied over talk they are in a gay relationship suffered abuse from players.
One star found a note saying “f****t” under his kit before kick-off.
His alleged lover was then abused when a phallic sex toy was left on his car.
Six team meetings were called by senior players to stop the homophobia.
The anti-gay stunts continued after it was revealed how the club was at war because of the scandal.
One African-born ace told colleagues he objected to men having a sexual relationship on religious grounds.
The Sun told how posters poking fun at the two players were put up at the club’s training ground.
In May it emerged another Premier League footballer had a secret gay relationship for four years – but wouldn’t come out fearing a backlash from fans could wreck his career.
The international ace, who told close pals in the game he is bisexual, has a child with his female partner.
But he was also having an affair with an openly gay fashion worker.
The player’s 21-year-old lover told last night of the star’s emotional torment. He said: “The Premier League’s a very weird environment for a gay or bi man.
“It’s a modern institution nothing like the rest of society. If two men want a consensual sexual relationship in this country, in most cases, no one would blink an eye.
Earlier this week, a Twitter account allegedly belonging to a gay English footballer revealed he is set to become the first player come out publicly.
“The Gay Footballer” has over 17,000 followers and is said to belong to a Championship player.
There are no active professional male footballers in England who are openly gay.
A statement posted from the account said the player’s identity would be revealed once he has prepared himself for the announcement.
He tweeted: “This afternoon I requested a meeting with both my manager and the club chairman.
“At this meeting I revealed to both gentlemen that I am a homosexual man, I explained that I had only yesterday come out to my family.
“I sought advice from both men regarding the fact that I not only want to, but will, come out publicly as a proud, confident gay professional footballer.
“As it currently stands, once I have taken the time to give full consideration to how and when I am to make it public, a press conference will be organised by the club, with invitations to be made in due course to both local and national press.”
While the tweets received a largely positive response, some abuse was also aimed at him
The Football Association marched at Pride in London for the first time last weekend while they have backed Stonewall’s rainbow laces campaign in recent years.
Former Aston Villa midfielder Thomas Hitzlsperger is one of the most high-profile figures to come out as gay in recent times.
The ex-Germany international had already retired before making his sexuality public.
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[Optional] Any advice for him?