Referees come out as gay to try and 'shake up culture of football'

The referees' announcement follow Blackpool footballer Jake Daniels' bravely coming out

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Two referees have come out as gay in a move to shake up the culture of Scottish football.

Craig Napier and Lloyd Wilson are the first openly gay participants in Scottish football since Justin Fashanu, who played for Airdrie and then Hearts in 1993 and 1994, several years after publicly announcing his sexuality.

Mr Napier announced his sexuality in a video on the Scottish Football Association Twitter account: "We need to see the climate change so that people do feel that they can be their true self and live happily and comfortably in their own skin, and that needs to then transcend into football".

Craig Napier spoke to the Scottish FA about his sexuality
Craig Napier spoke to the Scottish FA about his sexuality

Mr Napier took charge of 10 top-flight games in Scotland last season.

Referee in Scotland's lower leagues, Mr Wilson spoke about his sexuality in a video on the YouTube channel of mental health charity Back Onside.

Referee Lloyd Wilson trusted Back Onside to help with his mental health
Referee Lloyd Wilson trusted Back Onside to help with his mental health

When probed on why he chose now to discuss his sexuality, Mr Wilson added: "I think really the reason being that this has been a horrific journey, to be honest.

“A journey of maybe 17 years of living a life that I didn’t want to live, living a lie, living the way that other people maybe wanted me to live or that I thought other people wanted me to live. And probably dictated and directed in many ways by football.”

Jake Daniels became the first British footballer in the professional game to publicly come out as gay since Fashanu in 1990.

The Blackpool forward revealed that he had been inspired by other sporting figures such as Adelaide defender Josh Cavallo, Thetford player-manager Matt Mortoni and Olympic diving champion Tom Daley.

Mr Daniels's public announcement marked a strking move in mens football to become increasingly engaged with social issues, but LQBTQ representation in the sport remains limited.