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Football Manager 2021 sends powerful message to challenge homophobia in sport, even on a virtual pitch

Ed Nightingale February 10, 2021
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Football Manager 2021

Football Manager 2021. (Sports Interactive)

The annual Football v Homophobia campaign will be front, centre and even midfield in Football Manager 2021 for LGBT+ History Month.

Pride Sports, who run the campaign, have partnered with studio Sports Interactive to have the Football v Homophobia banner appear in-game to raise awareness. The digital banner will appear around the pitch in the 3D match engine for PC and Mac players only.

The news was shared by the Football v Homophobia Twitter account using a match between Watford FC and Brentford FC as an example. The tweet has since been shared by Sports Interactive, publisher SEGA and Brentford FC.

It’s also possible for new-gen players to come out as gay in Football Manager 2021, a feature that’s been included since the 2018 edition. These players are computer generated each season to replace real stars who retire – upon coming out, a message is sent to your in-game inbox along with a small increase in revenue to show support to the player.

The Football Manager series reaches thousands of football fans from around the world. Earlier in January, the 2021 edition became the studio’s fastest ever series of games to reach one million copies activated, with 900,000 players in one week. That means thousands of players globally will see these in-game adverts promoting the campaign.

Sports Interactive will similarly be supporting other charities in similar in-game adverts, including the likes of Kick It Out, War Child and several mental health charities.

Football v Homophobia
Football v Homophobia. (Pride Sports)

The series prides itself on its realism and authenticity in replicating the beautiful game, giving players an unrivalled management simulation. In reality, many Premier League footballers have come out as gay to teammates but fear a backlash from fans if made public.

Pride Sports runs Football v Homophobia internationally to challenge discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity at all levels of the sport, to ensure football is more welcoming for everyone. Last year they ran a Football v Transphobia campaign to support trans players, and Football Pride Festival in June.

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Related topics: football, Football Manager, gaming, homophobia in football

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