Jakub Jankto: Czech Republic and Sparta Prague footballer comes out as gay
Jakub Jankto joins Jake Daniels and Josh Cavallo as only openly gay top-flight male professional footballers
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The Czech Republic international Jakub Jankto has taken to Twitter to announce he ‘no longer wants to hide’ as he publicly comes out as gay. The 27-year-old currently plays on loan for Sparta Prague, joining from Spanish La Liga side Getafe. He is now the highest-profile current male footballer to have come out publicly as gay.
Jankto, 27, started his youth career with Slavia Prague in 2002 before joining Udinese in 2014. He signed with the Italian side for a reported fee of €700,000 and before making his debut for the team, he went on loan to the Serie B side Ascoli in 2015.
The midfielder then returned to Udinese where he made 65 league appearances before going out on loan to Sampdoria on a deal which included an obligation to make permanent for €15m. Two years later, Jankto signed with Getafe CF in La Liga where he played for a year before returning to his home country, joining Sparta Prague, on a one-year loan deal. Since joining Sparta Prague, he has made 10 league appearances, scoring once and providing one assist.
Jankto first made his senior debut for his country in 2017 and has since scored four goals in 45 appearances.
What has been said?
Taking to Twitter, the 27-year-old said: “Hi, I’m Jakub Jankto. Like everybody else, I have my strengths, I have my weaknesses, I have a family, I have my friends.
“I have a job, which I have been doing it as best as I can, for years, with seriousness, professionalism and passion. Like everybody else, I also want to live my life in freedom without fears, without prejudice, without violence but with love. I am homosexual, and I now longer want to hide myself.”
His current side, Sparta Prague, then realised a statement in support of their midfielder saying: “Jakub spoke openly about his sexual orientation with the club some time ago. Everything else concerns his personal life. No further comments. No more questions. You have our support. Live your life, Jakub. Nothing else matters.”
The official Premier League Twitter also added their own comment, replying to Jankto’s comment saying “We’re with you, Jakub. Football is for everyone” and Fifpro, the global union for players tweeted “Love you life, Jakub. Proud” along with a heart emoji.
Who are the other openly gay players in men’s football?
In October 2021, Josh Cavallo made history by becoming the first, and at the time the only, current top-flight male professional footballer to come out as gay. The Adelaide United player took to social media to write that he was “ready to speak about something personal that I’m finally acomfortable to talk about in my life. I’m a footballer and I’m gay. All I want to do is play football and be treated equally.”
A few months later, in May 2022, Blackpool’s Jake Daniels then came out as the UK’s only openly gay active male professional footballer and said the decision to announce it would allow him to ‘be free and confident’. Speaking to Sky Sports, the now-18-year-old forward said: “Since I’ve come out to my family, my club and my team-mates, that period of overthinking everything - and the stress it created - has gone. It was impacting my mental health. Now I am just confident and happy to be myself finally.”
Justin Fashanu had been the last active men’s professional footballer in the UK to come out during his playing career, featuring for clubs in England and Scotland after he announced he was gay in October 1990.