LGBTQ campaign backed by German footballers hailed as a 'step in the right direction'

    The latest issue of the German magazine 11Freunde (11 Friends) features covers with different footballers as part of a new campaign offering support to LGBTQ players.

    (CNN)More than 800 professional footballers in Germany have backed a campaign offering support to LGBTQ players.

    The campaign has been launched by the magazine 11Freunde (11 Friends) and includes statements from several Bundesliga stars, including Hertha Berlin's Dedryck Boyata, Borussia Mönchengladbach's Christoph Kramer and FC Köln's Jonas Hector.
    The latest issue of the magazine features a number of different cover stars holding signs that read: "You can count on us!" Fans have also been sharing images with the same message on social media.
      "Even in 2021, there will not be a single openly homosexual footballer in the German men's professional leagues," said a statement from the players backing the campaign.
        "The fear of being attacked and ostracized after coming out and of jeopardizing one's career as a professional footballer is apparently still so great that gay footballers believe they have to hide their sexuality.
        Sven Mislintat, sporting director for VfB Stuttgart, holds a jersey with the rainbow design in support of LGBTQ footballers.