Gay football fans call for more support from Premier League clubs
Football clubs aren’t doing enough to support LGBT fans, it is being claimed.
The Gay Football Supporters’ Network (GFSN) has noted that certain Premier league clubs are not pulling their weight in helping to set up groups for LGBT supporters.
Ed Connell, the chairman of the GFSN said of these groups: “I definitely think all Premier League clubs should have an official one.
“There are some clubs that still seem to think, remarkably as it may seem that there isn’t a problem with homophobia within football.
“They think because there is no homophobic chanting within their grounds there’s no need to actively help an LGBT fan group which is disappointing.”
Arsenal was the first Premier League team to officially recognise its LGBT supporters’ group in 2013.
When asked by the BBC whether they had an official LGBT supporters’ group, four of the nineteen Premier League clubs asked refused to provide an answer; five said they did; while two clubs – Sunderland and Stoke City – confirmed that they do not currently have one.
Arsenal’s LGBT supporters’ group – the Gay Gooners – is one of the most prolific. They even have their own banner at the Emirates Stadium.
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Steve, a member of Gay Gooners said: “It’s just a social group for like-minded supporters to meet up and have a few drinks.”
Ed Connell stressed the importance of groups like these for fans who have previously felt marginalised: “To see the Gay Gooners displaying their banner inside the Emirates is the most amazing thing for an LGBT fan who’s been attending football for years but felt like the silent minority within the ground.”
The GFSN’s website describes the group’s purpose as : “to maintain a social network for LGB&T supporters, to encourage inclusive teams for players of all abilities, and to campaign against discrimination in football, with a view to creating a safe and tolerant environment both on and off the pitch.”
Find out more about The Gay Football Supporters’ Network by visiting their website.