Ryan Atkin | Sky News | 17150
Gay Activist congratulates Ryan Atkin, England’s first openly gay professional official. The Football Association welcomed his revelation of his sexuality as a landmark sign of progress.
“Ryan’s declaration marks an important moment in the game and reinforces the fact that refereeing really is open to everyone,” said Neale Barry of the FA. “He believes people who are happy in their own skin perform better and I couldn’t agree more. Our role is to support all referees, aid their development, maximise their potential and, above all, help ensure their experiences are positive.”
“I myself have never been a victim of homophobic abuse but I am aware others have been. The biggest challenge I might face in the future as an openly gay referee would potentially be dealing with homophobia that could come from players, spectators and possibly even refereeing colleagues, though so far I have found officials within football to be very open-minded. It’s something the game can be proud of,” said Ryan.