The 2008 International Gay and Lesbian Football Association World Championship being held in London later this year has announced cash sponsorship from a website.
The championship became an issue in the election for Mayor of London today when LGBT activist and Green party candidate Peter Tatchell attacked the incumbent for reportedly declining to contribute to the funding and or sign a letter of support for a grant application to the lottery fund.
However, the gay World Cup organisers told PinkNews.co.uk that plans for the event are well-advanced, with just 5 to 10% of the budget still to be found.
“Around 50% of the budget has already been secured through registration fees,” Mikey Collins, the Chair of London 2008, said.
London team Leftfooters FC won its bid to host the championship earlier last year after International Gay and Lesbian Football Assocation officials visited facilities at Regents Park.
Today website Fitlads.net, one of the UK’s largest gay networking sites, announced sponsorship and cash support for the gay World Cup.
Underwear manufacturer Aussiebum will be donating specially designed kits.
Additional substantial corporate sponsorship will be announced later this month.
The Football Association will also be providing cash and logistical support for the gay World Cup.
The organisers said that they had approached the Mayor’s office for funding, and confirmed he had declined to sign up to the lottery bid, but added that they have other political support from Lib Dem MP Don Foster.
“This is not a deal-breaker and we are keen to concentrate on the tournament,” said Mr Collins.
“We are grateful that Mr Tatchell has chosen to highlight funding for gay sports.”
“We have 50 teams from all across the world coming to London and only four months to go. We are confident we will get funding.”
He added that the Lottery grant applied for is less than £10,000 out of an estimated budget of £70,000.
The additional money would be used to develop a legacy from the gay World Cup, including developing the Gay Football Supporter’s league.
There are more than 16 gay football teams in the UK, nearly all of whom will be attending the event.
“London 2008 looks set to be the largest gay and lesbian sporting event ever to be held in the UK,” said Mr Collins.
“We are handing out scholarships to teams across the world that can’t afford to travel or take part.
“Teams from Croatia, South Africa, Uganda, Argentina and Mexico will be given free accommodation, free entry into the tournament, free travel and football equipment.
“With teams from Japan and Australia taking part, every continent is covered.”
“It is scandalous that Ken Livingstone is organising billions of
pounds for corporate mega events like the 2012 Olympics but can’t give a few thousand pounds to help host the gay football world
championship,” said Peter Tatchell.
“London is has won the honour of being the host city, yet the Mayor is refusing to support the event in any way. He’s giving no funding and won’t sign a letter of support for the lottery bid.
“The gay community is being taken for granted and short-changed by the Mayor.
“Huge grants are being doled out to other communities but the
gay community is getting very little.”
London 2008 will take place in Regent’s Park, with competitive and recreational competitions for both male and female teams from all over the world, between 24th and 30th August 2008.
The final is due to take place at Leyton Orient’s Matchroom Stadium.
For more details about London 2008, including how to volunteer, click here.