Gay World Cup organisers hope more women will take up the game
The team behind last week’s International Gay and Lesbian Football Association World Championship in London said they were “delighted” that it passed off so successfully.
Joanie Evans, the championship’s Women’s Director, said she was disappointed that of the 12 teams who initially expressed interest only five eventually competed, but the presence of two teams from overseas was inspiring.
“We were very pleased to have the South African and American teams,” she told PinkNews.co.uk.
“It made it a special week for all of us.
“The South African women, who may not have the freedoms we take for granted in London, were really supportive of the event.
“They are hoping to host their own women’s tournament next year and we will see if we can get a group of supportive group to go over as a representative of the UK teams.”
The Ladies tournament was won by Hackney Ladies FC. They beat Alexandra Park 2-0.
Women’s teams were initially to play 11-a-side, but due to the lack of teams and restrictions from Regents Park, where the tournament was held, the organisers could only host the women’s tournament as 7-a-side.
At Saturday’s finals at Leyton Orient’s ground, the 11-a-side male teams played their match while the women, reformed into London vs Rest of the World, held a 30 minute friendly exhibition match.
“This gave the women a chance to be able to play on a full size pitch,” said Ms Evans.
“It was 0-0 draw. The pitch was huge!
“The women were never sidelined – I said from the beginning that we needed to make sure time was set aside for the women at Leyton Orient.”
In the men’s competition, Stonewall Lions FC triumphed over Argentinian team Safgay FC 5-0 in the final at Orient’s Matchroom Stadium.
The men’s second division was won by Leicester Wildecats, one of the GFSN’s founding teams, who caused a major upset in beating the Stonewall Second Team in the final game. It finished 3-3 and the Wildecats won on penalties.
More than 30 teams from all across the world took part in the championship.
Sir Trevor Brooking of the Football Association and Bobby Barnes of the Professional Footballers Association chose the men of the matches for the finals.
Chris Basiurski, Corporate Director for London 2008, said:
“Had all gone to play, both men and women’s Division 1 finals would have taken place at Leyton Orient but as the pitch is 11-a-side not 7-a-side, the final for the women’s tournament had to be played at Regents Park, for practical reasons.
“We hope the IGLFA and the women’s clubs will be able to build on our event to increase the size of the women’s event in the future, but we are confident that our guests from South Africa and the US had a really good time this last week.”
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The GFSN (Gay Footballers Supporters Network) is speaking to a number of the UK’s lesbian teams about establishing a cup competition to run alongside the GFSN National League Cup.
“From the countless matches at Regent’s Park, the drinks afterwards in the “Black Cap in the Park,” the evening social events, to the spectacular finals day at Leyton Orient, London 2008 was the result of a great deal of hard work, dedication and vision,” said Mr Basiurski.
“The week’s event will go down as the largest gay and most successful gay sporting event held in the UK to date.
“Our congratulations not just to the winners, but to all those who took part who demonstrated that gay football is thriving, not just in the UK but across the world.
“We’d like to thank all the volunteers, sponsors and supporters who made the event possible and run so smoothly.
“We hope that this will help gay sport in the UK to continue to grow and strengthen the respect and recognition of gay participation in all sports.”