Former Aston Villa and West Ham midfielder Thomas Hitzlsperger came out as gay last year, but only after confirming he was retiring from the game.
Football's macho image, maintained in stadiums and dressing rooms, provides a daunting barrier for footballers, who at the end of the day want to play the sport they love, without their personal life being a complication.
American Football will welcome it's first openly gay athlete, Michael Sam, at the start of next season, but in the Premier League no current players have declared themselves as homosexual.
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has given an in-depth interview on the subject to Arsenal.com, backing the club's own supporter group the 'Gay Gooners' and the 'Arsenal for Everyone' initiative.
Wenger said he believes football needs to catch up with the rest of modern society, but accepts the challenges involved.
The 64-year-old says he would give any Arsenal players who want to come out, his full backing. Asked how he would handle it, he responded:
"First of all I would say to him, ‘Look, thank you for telling me but that doesn’t bother me. You live your life like you want to live it’. I would just try to speak about his game and his attitude on the pitch, and the rest I wouldn’t bother too much about."
Wenger adds it should not be a big deal, and once five or six footballers come out as openly gay, only then will it stop being such a big media talking point, and attitudes among fans may begin to be more accepting.
"I don’t know how close we are but we certainly still have some steps to take to get there. There’s still some work to do."