EVERY time a sportsman comes out as being gay the focus automatically turns to football.

It's a default occurrence, an instinctive reaction borne out of the national fascination with the fact high level British football has never had an openly gay player.

It's different in other sports where the reactions suggest there is little to worry about.

Rugby union player Gareth Thomas and diver Tom Daley both did so to pretty much universal acclaim.

Their announcements were met with full support and a positive response from all and sundry.

Most sportsmen who do decide to make the announcement usually wait until they have ended their competitive careers, such as athlete Colin Jackson and swimmer Ian Thorpe.

It could be because they did not want it to be a distraction to their careers or it just wasn't the right time for them personally.

Or it could be any number of other reasons, all of which are nobody's business but their own.

This week Britain's former swimming champion Mark Foster came out publicly in a wonderful interview in the Guardian.

He spoke about how he had been open about it with his family and friends but had hid it in his sporting life.

Almost inevitably the situation in football came up in the interview. It always does because of some weird fascination about gay footballers which will only end when one or more players who are gay are openly so.

Unfortunately they are unwilling, or maybe afraid, to do so.

It is inconceivable there are no gay footballers in the Premier League or any of the top divisions.

It is also understandable why they don't wish to say they are.

There is a feeling they would be singled out by fans and treated differently within the game.

Who knows, maybe it would be detrimental to their careers.

Football, unfortunately, hasn't shaken off its image of having antiquated attitudes running through it.

Maybe some agents wouldn't be prepared to take them on, or some managers or chairman wouldn't be fair with them.

If that happened, though, it would be those agents, managers and chairmen who should be driven out of the game not the players.

As far as the public in general are concerned watching openly gay players would not be a big thing.

This is 2017 not the 1800s and people these days are a million times more open-minded than they were even 20 years ago.

Sure there would be the odd neanderthalic voice in the crowd at first, but football terraces are rather good at self-regulating and anyone uttering such out of date attitudes is more than likely to be ignored, derided and probably shouted down.

Of course the first player to come out would be a brave man. He would also be a trailblazer.

He could spark an I'm Spartacus moment where others would feel stirred to follow suit.

Is it important if there are gay men playing professional football? No, of course it's not.

Is it a subject which is often discussed? Yes it is.

Should it be? Absolutely not.

All it would take is one player in the Premier League to admit he was gay and we could stop having this discussion of ludicrously outdated attitudes once and for all.