Gary Lineker claims he knows of two gay Premier League stars and hopes they both come out at Qatar World Cup

    GARY Lineker believes there is no better time for homosexual Premier League players to come out than in the lead up to the Qatar World Cup.

    The broadcaster and former England striker says he knows at least “one or two” homosexual players who have been “very close” to coming out.

    Gary Lineker is encouraging homosexual Premier League players to come out ahead of the World Cup

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    Gary Lineker is encouraging homosexual Premier League players to come out ahead of the World CupCredit: Getty

    He told the Daily Mirror: “I know for a fact that some have been very close and contemplated it. There’s a couple I know, but obviously it’s not for me to say who they are.”

    The World Cup will be held in the Muslim country next month where same sex activity is illegal under strict Sharia law, punishable with a maximum penalty of death.

    Game officials have sought to give reassurance to LGBTQ+ fans that they would be welcomed at the tournament, to be hosted at eight stadiums across five cities.

    World Cup Chief Nasser Al Khater said: “At the end of the day, as long as you don’t do anything that harms other people, if you’re not destroying public property, as long as you’re behaving in a way that’s not harmful, then everybody’s welcome and you have nothing to worry about.”

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    World Cup Chief Nasser Al Khater said: “At the end of the day, as long

    Online critics have called for stronger action with one posting to Twitter calling for “teams to Boycott” the event.

    Several European soccer federations are putting pressure on FIFA, campaigning for captains to wear an armband with a rainbow heart design during games in a stand against discrimination.

    England captain Harry Kane has promised to wear a OneLove armband, even if it is prohibited by FIFA.

    Lineker believes there is no better time to support LGBTQ+ than against the backdrop of one of the most highly anticipated and watched championships in the world.

    But the Match of the Day host, 61, says fear of retribution from fans and criticism from team-mates would be holding back many players who are “living a lie.”

    A few high-profile players have already come out as gay, including Championship Blackpool player Jake Daniels and Lineker hope this will have a “domino effect.”

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    He says: “I was hoping, because there are lots, obviously, lots of players that are having to live a lie.

    “I’m sure it’s very difficult. I always thought it’s so difficult to know unless you’re in that circumstance and you’re living through how that is. I think what we’ve seen so far is that the feedback and the response, it will be incredibly positive.”

    Qatar will be the first Muslim country in the Arab world to host the World Cup, which kicks off on November 20.

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