A new poll of football fans in 38 countries has revealed homophobia is declining.

The survey by LGBTI group Stonewall and fan forum Forza Football asked 50,000 people about their attitudes towards sexuality and sport.

Overall, three quarters of football fans said they would be comfortable with a player from their county’s team coming out as gay or bisexual, Eurosport has reported.

Fans in Iceland and Ireland proved the most progressive, with almost nine out of 10 saying they would accept a queer player.

The least tolerant countries included the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Egypt, where only one in 10 fans said they would be happy with someone on their national team coming out.

In Russia, which will host next year’s World Cup, almost half of respondents said they would accept a gay player.

In Qatar, which will host the 2022 World Cup, only one in seven fans agreed.

“What these results reflect is how much work there is still to do before we can say that we live in a world where lesbian, gay, bi and trans people are accepted without exception,” said Stonewall chief executive Ruth Hunt.

“For many LGBT people in Russia for example, the World Cup is seen as an opportunity for the daily abuses and discrimination they face to be put under the spotlight, to be questioned and criticised.

“We believe the upcoming World Cups are an opportunity to shine a light on what the situation is like for LGBT people in Russia and Qatar and start conversations that can lead to positive change.”

The same poll was also conducted three years ago, and the results suggest that acceptance of LGBTI people has grown in that time.

More than twice as many Russians said they would accept a player coming out compared to the 2014 survey.

Almost two in three fans worldwide said that LGBTI acceptance should be considered by FIFA when deciding who hosts tournaments.

“Lesbian, gay, bi and trans people are part of the football community across the world, and have as much right to play, watch and follow the game as much as anyone else,” said Patrik Arnesson, chief executive of Forza Football.

“With the biggest sporting event on earth taking place in Russia in 2018, we want to see FIFA taking a stronger stance to ensure the safety of all LGBT fans involved in the tournament.”

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