A Commons culture, media and sport committee inquiry is to explore homophobia in sport.
Four years ago the committee’s inquiry into racism in football found that homophobia was emerging as a bigger problem than other forms of discrimination.
That finding led it to announce on Tuesday that it would conduct a short inquiry taking into account different experiences of men and women across a range of sports.
“Sport is hugely important to many people, but it is clear that homophobia remains a serious issue across a wide range of British sports,” the committee chair, Jesse Norman, said.
“The committee intends to examine why this is so and what can be done to address it … We are particularly interested in looking at the possible differences between sports, and sports governing bodies, and between the experiences of sportsmen and sportswomen.”
The committee reports that abusive posts are sent to football players via social media once every 2.6 minutes.
There are no openly gay male footballers in England and Scotland’s professional leagues, and the inquiry will hear opinions on why players may be fearful of being open about their sexuality and how homophobia in sport feeds into wide society.
The committee has called for written submissions on the matter, with a deadline of 29 April.
The highest profile gay footballer in Britain is Casey Stoney, the Arsenal Ladies and England defender. Stoney came out in 2014, and the England women’s team manager, Mark Sampson, believes the women’s game provides an accommodating environment for all players regardless of their sexuality.
Sampson said: “That’s the case for the women’s game in general. There are many other areas of the women’s game which are most accessible and open. I’ve never known any real negative behaviour in that area in the men’s game, but I’ve also been pleasantly surprised by the positivity around the openness within the women’s game for various issues.”