FA wants homophobia liaison officers in every league club

Tony Grew July 26, 2007
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The Football Association has highlighted its work towards tackling prejudice against LGB people in sport at a conference in Belgium last week.

The More Than Playing Games conference’s homophobia in football workshop was addressed by representatives of the FA and the Gay Football Supporters Network.

The two organisations have launched a joint initiative to get a liaison officer into all 92 league clubs in time for the forthcoming season to implement the new ground regulations banning homophobic abuse.

The Antwerp conference, which was held on the eve of the Gay and Lesbian Sport Federation’s Eurogames, saw delegates from across Europe join Belgian MPs and delegates from UEFA, the sport’s European governing body, to discuss anti-gay prejudice.

FA customer relations assistant Tracey Bates spoke at the Homophobia in Football workshop and was joined by Chris Basiurski from GFSN.

“I spoke about the ‘Tackling Homophobia’ working group, which meets regularly at The FA, and the new ground regulations which, for the first time, will cover homophobia when the new season begins,” said Ms Bates.

“Everyone was impressed with the work of The FA in this area and we also outlined the ten point plan in the new Irrespective of Sexual Orientation leaflet produced by The FA’s Ethics Team.”

Mr Basiurski praised The FA for helping to secure the 2008 International Gay and Lesbian Football Association’s World Championships for London.

They will be hosted next August by gay and lesbian football club London Leftfooters.

Conference delegates were given an insight into homophobia in football around Europe, with delegates reporting progress in the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany.

Representatives of amateur teams from Denmark and Spain highlighted homophobia from fans and the press.

The event concluded with senior figures signing a joint declaration supporting the equal treatment of heterosexuals, gays, lesbians and bisexuals in sport.

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