02 December 2019

Chelsea forward Ramona Bachmann believes women's game is years ahead of men's in its acceptance of openly gay players

Swiss footballer Ramona Bachmann has praised the women's game for its unwavering acceptance of openly gay female footballers saying it puts them years ahead of the men.

The 28-year-old came out at the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup in Canada - choosing the biggest stage in the game to declare she was in a relationship with her girlfriend.

But it was a moment captured at this summer's World Cup in France that she believes highlights the difference between the women's and men's games.

Denmark striker Pernille Harder leant forward in the stands to kiss her girlfriend Magda Eriksson from Sweden, who had just helped her team qualify for the quarter-finals. The photo went viral, highlighting the different culture of the women's game.

Bachmann believes publicity like this demonstrates the true nature of the game in allowing everyone to be themselves. She said: “It’s obviously amazing because what everyone tries to do is just be ourselves, and not to hide things, trying to show it’s normal for us in women’s football."

The Chelsea forward is in an openly gay relationship with West Ham striker Alisha Lehmann and feels the attitude shown by the women's game and its fans is demonstrative of its evolution compared to the men's game.

"I feel like in this part we’re really, really a big step ahead of the men’s [game], and hopefully I feel like it’s one way to promote our sport as well."

She spoke of the thousands of fans who reach out to her on her social media: "I think that’s why our fans feel like we’re closer to them. They have access to us, meeting us and signing pictures, but also everything is more ourselves. We don’t have two separate lives, we’re not hiding anything, I think that’s what people like, because they can identify themselves with us.

"I get texts even from guys, who say it’s amazing that I’ve helped them to be open with their families. It’s amazing.”

It was widely reported that at least 41 openly gay female players and coaches including Golden Boot winner Megan Rapinoe, took part in the Women's World Cup in France. Conversely, in the men’s tournament in Russia 2018 there were none.

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