The Gay Football Supporters’ Network (GFSN) has questioned why the Football Association has backed down from releasing a video to tackle the problem of homophobic fans.
The group said it was “extremely disappointed” to learn that the premiere of the video had been cancelled because FA chiefs decided more work needed to be done on the campaign.
A premier at Wembley Stadium was due to be held today but last Friday, PinkNews.co.uk revealed it had been cancelled.
The video, which was made available online yesterday, has been attacked by a number of of people involved in the FA’s consultation.
Former NBA basketball player John Amaechi described it as “incendiary” and “vulgar”, while Peter Tatchell said he wanted a film that would give a positive message about gay footballers and fans.
It shows a football fan hurling homophobic abuse at people in the street and his office, without being challenged for his behaviour.
In a statement, the GFSN said it had “lobbied unsuccessfully” for more input from itself and the gay community in the making of the video and said it was “disappointed that the lack of consultation and inclusion has helped result in the events of the last few days”.
The group added: “We question why the FA has decided to form its strategy now and had not acted in the months since the film was first commissioned and we have sought reassurances from the FA that it is still committed to tackling homophobia in football.”
Chris Basiurski, chair of the GFSN, said: “We are very disappointed that a lack of planning seems to have derailed this project.
“We would have thought that the football community would be embarrassed that a senior professional rugby player was able to come out while the world continues to say that football is not ready.
“The FA and the other football authorities need to be asking themselves whether they are doing all they can and should be doing to tackle homophobia. The FA says it is committed to changing the environment in football but we think it has a long way [to go].
“We would urge the FA not to delay but to act quickly to end the uncertainty and put in place the necessary strategies to allow it to proceed with this very important campaign.”
The FA worked with anti-racism and homophobia body Kick It Out to produce the video.
Kick It Out director Piara Power defended the style of the film earlier this week and said that all of those involved, including the GFSN, Stonewall and Peter Tatchell, had “agreed the strategy and approved the script before production”.
To watch the video, see below.