Football club to dedicate match to fighting homophobia
A London football club is set to dedicate one of their matches to fighting homophobia for the first time.
Charlton Athletic, who used to be in the Premier League, will play their official Football v Homophobia game against Scunthorpe United tomorrow night.
The League One match will also be supported by Charlton’s own LGBT supporters’ group, Proud Valiants, and a football club called Bexley Invicta which brands itself as LGBT-friendly.
All the players – including Euro 2016 star Josh Magennis – will wear Football v Homophobia shirts during the warm-up, and the mascot will walk out with the players waving rainbow flags.
Videos will also play to detail the work of Proud Valiants and Bexley Invicta, before pitchside interviews with representatives from those groups.
The club has long been in communication with LGBT activist groups, having hosted a Gay Football Supporters Network workshop as far back as 2007.
Charlton development manager Lisa Squires told the club’s website: “We’re proud to be hosting our first Football v Homophobia game.
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“There is no place for homophobia in football and this is something that as a club we have been very strong on.
“Last season we hosted our first ever Charlton vs Homophobia tournament to help raise awareness for LGBTQ+ football, and we will be doing it again this year.”
Bexley Invicta player-manager Gary Ginnaw said the match “marks a special occasion for everyone concerned with Charlton Athletic Football Club and the Proud Valiants”.
He added: “As a lifelong Charlton Athletic fan, gay man and footballer – it makes me incredibly proud of the work that has gone on over the last 12 months to ensure this event took place. And 3 points wouldn’t go amiss!”
Proud Valiants chairperson Rob Harris said the event was typical of Charlton, which had “always been a more family-orientated club” than most.
“There is a more family feel here. They are one of the leading clubs in the country dealing with LGBT issues.”