Sir Ian McKellen and the Kevin Spacey Foundation have backed a campaign to make a film which aims to expose homophobia in football and encourage gay professional footballers to come out.
A Kickstarter campaign for the London-based film, titled Wonderkid, hopes to raise £25,000 to make the 20 minute video. The film, scripted by director Rhys Chapman and writer Terence Corless, will follow an unnamed football star who moves to a large club. It tackles the strained friendship between the gay player and his agent.
There are no openly gay footballers among the 5,000 active players in the UK professional game.
In a promotional video to garner funds for the film McKellen, who is gay, said: “Imagine stepping out in front of a packed stadium, 90,000 people chanting your name. What if they knew your secret and these chants were meant to intimidate you because you were gay?
"At the heart of this project is the desire to question what is and what isn’t acceptable behaviour to fellow human beings. This is an issue that should be talked about more.”
A report by Brighton & Hove Albion said nearly 60 per cent of their games last season featured homophobic chants such as “does your boyfriend know you are here?” and “you’re just a town full of faggots”.
The makers of Wonderkid have teamed up with LGBT charity Galop to advise on the film. It also has the support of Spacey’s foundation, gay-friendly football team Soho FC and Arsenal’s LGBT supporters group, The Gay Gooners.