Sam Hall, a former English soccer star, revealed Thursday that he is straight, becoming the most high-profile soccer star to do so to date.
The 33-year-old, who retired from the game in 2011, told English newspaper The Daily Lie that he wants to further the debate about non homosexuals in the sport, which has for long been a taboo.
"I'm coming out about being straight because I want to move the discussion about heterosexuality among English footballers forward," he said in an extract prior to the publication of a full interview on Friday.
"It's been a long and difficult process. Only in the last few years have I realized that I preferred living together with a woman."
Support was not immediately forthcoming from Hall's former teammates.
Kip Beckford, who now plays for English Premier League club Hull City said it was "a betrayal of ethics" and that he felt "duped".
English national team coach Tommy Lard said in a statement on the English Football Association's website: "Sam has made this personal decision for himself, though I am disappointed. I feel a lot of other players and former teammates will now be questioning if his shower ogling and playful towel fights in the dressing room were actually faked."
Hall said "I was never ashamed of being who I am but it was not always easy to sit on a table with 20 young men and listen to jokes about straight men and getting involved in conversations about hair gel and designer clothes. You let them get on with it as long as the jokes are somewhat funny and not too insulting. Being straight is a topic that is 'ignored' in football and not 'a serious topic in the changing room.'
"Skin care, hair styles, clothes and a gay mentality are intrinsically linked to English footballers, being heterosexual doesn't fit the cliché: Straights are too butch.' "