Arsenal goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale has pledged to call out homophobia in football, revealing his deep pride in his gay brother.
Ramsdale, writing for The Players’ Tribune, called his actor brother, Oliver, the “real superstar of the family”, hailing his bravery.
“My brother is gay, and he’s lived his life in an open and authentic way since he went off to school,” he said.
“I’m so proud to say he’s my brother. I haven’t talked about it before, but with everything going on in football right now, I thought it was important to mention.”
He added: “Over the years, I’ve probably bit my tongue a few too many times – both in dressing rooms and on social media – whenever I hear homophobic comments or stupid things being said. And I think maybe my brother has done the same, thinking it would make my life easier.
“Well, all that ends today.
“It’s not the easiest thing to be open like this, but there’s never a ‘right time’.”
A Fulham fan was last month banned from attending matches for three years and fined after engaging in homophobic chanting while Wolves were fined £100 000 over similar behaviour by supporters.
Ramsdale, who recently signed a new long-term contract at the Emirates following a campaign in which Arsenal finished second in the Premier League, said he had many “football dreams” about winning trophies.
But he added: “As a person, I have another dream.
“I want this game I love to be a safe and welcoming place for everyone. I want my brother, Ollie – or anyone of any sexuality, race or religion – to come to games without having to fear abuse.
“And when we lift a trophy at the Emirates Stadium, I want my brother there with me.”