FRANKFURT, Germany -- The German soccer federation president says it's time for gay players to come out!

Theo Zwanziger encouraged gay players "to have the courage to declare themselves," although he said it was difficult to acknowledge one's homosexuality within a team. He pointed out the example of Berlin's Mayor Klaus Wowereit, who came out some time ago.

Speaking at a round table on the subject organized by the federation, Zwanziger said on Tuesday that in general society was more accepting than a few years ago. Germany's captain Philipp Lahm, however, disagreed as far as soccer goes.

"Football is like being the gladiators in the old times," Lahm claims in an interview published on Monday. "The politicians can come out these days, for sure, but they don't have to play in front of 60,000 people every week."

"I don't think that the society is that far ahead that it can accept homosexual players as something normal as in other areas," he said.

Zwanziger, who will retiring his job in March, says Lahm is a very tolerant person "and if that's how he sees the situation, I am not going to be the one to criticize him."

So far none of Germany's professional league players have acknowledged their homosexuality.

Do you think that gay players should come out? Leave comments below...


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