Jakub Jankto breaks men’s football’s biggest taboo saying he ‘no longer wants to hide’

February 14 – In a groundbreaking moment, Czech international Jakub Jankto has become the first active international men’s player to declare he is gay.

In a video message released on social media and seen more than 10 million times, Jankto announced that he is gay as he “no longer wants to hide”. He shared a short clip explaining the motives to share his identity.

He said: “Like everybody else, I have my strengths, I have my weaknesses; I have a family, I have my friends.

“I have a job, which I have been doing it as best as I can, for years, with seriousness, professionalism and passion. Like everybody else, I also want to live my life in freedom without fears, without prejudice, without violence, but with love.

“I am homosexual, and I no longer want to hide myself.”

The 27-year-old midfielder plays for Sparta Prague, on loan from Spanish club Getafe.

His club posted a statement in support of the player, writing: “Jakub Jankto spoke openly about his sexual orientation with the club’s management, coach and teammates some time ago.

“No further comments. No more questions. You have our support. Live your life, Jakub. Nothing else matters.”

In a show of support, Getafe wrote: “Our maximum respect and unconditional support for our footballer, Jakub Jankto.”

Jankto starred for the Czech Republic at Euro 2020 and he has played 45 times for his country since making his debut in 2017.

The midfielder received massive support on social media and also drew encouragement from both UEFA and FIFA. UEFA infamously banned LGBT flags at Euro 2020 matches while FIFA president Gianni Infantino said at a news conference on the ever of the World Cup in Qatar – where homosexuality is still outlawed – that he felt gay.

UEFA wrote: “Well done, Jakub. You’re a true inspiration, and European football is with you!”

FIFA added their voice: “We’re all with you, Jakub. Football is for everyone”.

Coming out in professional football remains exceedingly rare. Jankto joins Australian player Josh Cavallo as the only openly gay top-flight male footballers in the world.

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