This weekend has seen the launch event for the Football v Homophobia campaign’s 2014 month of action, and the campaign is pleased to have the backing of the top five teams in the country, as well as over 50% of Premier League sides. The campaign works to tackle homophobia in football during LGBT History Month by bringing together everyone involved in the game – players, coaches, clubs and football authorities – to take a visible anti homophobia stance. This is the campaign’s second annual month long call for action and, with the endorsement of all of the football authorities, its hoping to get at least 50% of all professional clubs in the country committed to challenging homophobia in the game.
The launch event for the month was held at Selhurst Park on Saturday 1st, featuring speakers from The FA, FL, PFA and Crystal Palace’s Community Foundation. West Ham’s players kicked off the action earlier that day by donning the FvH t-shirts during their match. Skipper Kevin Nolan spoke out about the campaign: “For us as players and role models, we all recognise the importance of the Football v Homophobia campaign” said Nolan. “We’re passionate about supporting this and we hope that it sends out a message that there is no place for discrimination in football, nor in any sport.” Several other clubs including long term supporters Manchester City, Arsenal and Aston Villa have been joined by some other big names backing the campaign this year, including Manchester United, Chelsea, Everton and Stoke.
The campaign believes that incremental change is happening in the game, and aims to work positively in football by encouraging everyone to get involved. It emphasises building long term relationships with clubs, their Community Foundations and supporters so that more and more people within the game feel confident to engage with the issue. Lou Englefield, Director of the campaign said: “FvH is about everyone taking responsibility to address the causes and consequences of homophobia in football. This isn’t just about players coming out. It’s about all of us – including heterosexual players and fans who attend matches week in week out – being willing to speak out and take visible action to challenge prejudice in the game. We are pleased to be working alongside all of the football authorities and hope that together we can make this the biggest year yet for the campaign against homophobia in football.”
Sports Minister Helen Grant has backed the approach of the campaign: ‘“Football v Homophobia is raising the awareness of important issues and provides ways for everyone in football to get involved. Over the last few years, the Government has worked hard to help sport tackle prejudice through the Charter for Action Against Homophobia and Transphobia. We were pleased to see all the Premier League and Football League clubs pledge their support to the charter and we hope everyone in the game will continue their support by taking action with the Football v Homophobia campaign.”
The full list of clubs that have committed to take action in 2014 can be found on the campaign’s website: http://www.footballvhomophobia.com/professional-clubs.
Confirmed so far from the Premier League are Arsenal, Aston Villa, Chelsea, Crystal Palace, Everton, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Stoke City, Sunderland, West Ham.