Tom Harald Hagen, a Norwegian football referee, came out publicly as gay and he explained the decision was prompted by a player's alleged homophobic slur against another player at Sunday's Vålerenga IF vs Kristiansund match.
Hagen said: "I feel the time is right and I think that only positive things will come out of this. I have gradually become confident in myself, and my life is very good. I feel it is important to make it safe, including the fact that I am gay. I have lived like that all my life, my relationship, my family, and my football family."
Speaking about Sunday's incident, he continued: “It is the height of irony that I was just leading that match. Maybe he said it on a whim, that can happen in football. But we have to get rid of it.”
Responding to the news, FIFA’s Chief Social Responsibility and Education Officer Joyce Cook said in a statement: "FIFA commends Hagen on this courageous decision. For an active actor of the game to come out, and the positive reactions that this has generated overall, sends a clear message in favour of diversity. Football has to be for all and Tom Harald’s brave move is important to show the way and make everyone feel safe and welcome in our game."
Hagen shows red car to homphobia in football