Championship football team Queens Park Rangers have launched a historic partnership with LGBT club London Titans FC.
It was announced today that the Titans – first launched as a gay London football club in 2005 – have launched a new community partnership with the popular London team.
Both QPR and the Titans have enjoyed some success in the recent past – with QPR making it to the Premiership in 2014, while the Titans are former champions of the Gay Football Supporters’ Network’s (GFSN) National League.
As part of the “virtually unprecedented” deal, the Titans will “proudly” wear the QPR crest – and will get coaching help from the club, fundraising support, and a greater LGBT presence at QPR match days.
A statement explained: “With the sporting world gearing up for Football vs. Homophobia’s Month of Action taking place throughout February, LGBT football team London Titans FC are pleased to announce the launch of a new community partnership with Championship side, Queens Park Rangers (QPR).
“As LGBT visibility in football continues to be a timely and increasingly discussed issue, with high-profile campaigns and players coming out in support of equality in the game, this new Club Partnership scheme will see greater collaboration between the two teams in both a footballing and cultural sense, as diversity and equality in sport remain firmly rooted at the heart of the QPR Community Trust’s engagement with the local community.”
Titans Club Manager Phil Steer said: “As a club we’re really proud to provide an accepting and competitive space for players to experience the game regardless of their sexuality.
“Over the last 10 years we’ve come a long way and it’s great to see the community that has grown around a love of the game free from the homophobia you may find elsewhere.
“Entering into partnership with QPR signals an exciting step for the club, and the importance on both sides of keeping equality at the heart of football.”
Former Queens Park Rangers player Joey Barton, who left the club in 2015, was one of the most prominent footballers to regularly speak out against homophobia in the sport.
Barton loudly supported Stonewall’s rainbow laces campaign for two years in a row, speaking out against anti-gay chants that remain commonplace.
He also previously led QPR in their commitment to the “Football V Homophobia” campaign, and in 2013 accused FIFA “of not taking a tough enough stance to make this issue go away”.