Charlton Athletic’s home game against Oxford United on Saturday 3 February is dedicated to fighting homophobia as part of Football v Homophobia’s month of action.
The game is the second year Charlton have dedicated a match day to the cause following last season’s game against Scunthorpe United.
The League One match will also be supported by Charlton’s LGBTQI+ supporters’ group, Proud Valiants.
Earlier this year Charlton Athletic Community Trust (CACT) Invicta FC became the first LGBTQI+ friendly football team affiliated to a UK community trust, and representatives from the team are also set to attend February’s game.
Charlton Athletic Head of Communications Tom Rubashow said:
“We are delighted to be hosting the second annual Football v Homophobia game. There is no place for homophobia in football and we are really pleased, but not surprised, at the way our fans have got behind all the work we’ve been doing with the Proud Valiants over the years.
“As well as the upcoming matchday against Oxford United, we’ll be hosting the third annual Charlton vs Homophobia tournament this summer to help raise awareness for LGBTQI+ football.”
Proud Valiants have invited their counterparts at Oxford United to join the celebration and plans for this year’s event include pre-match video interviews, use of rainbow corner flags and much more. As part of the match day Charlton Athletic partner Hadlow Group will provide rainbow flower bouquets for all hospitality areas put together by their students.
Proud Valiants chairperson Rob Harris said:
“We are thrilled that the club has chosen this match against Oxford United as the club's Football v Homophobia match. I would like to welcome all the fans of Oxford's LGBTQI+ fan group who will be at The Valley for the day.
“Since its formation the Proud Valiants have worked hard to raise awareness to rid homophobia from football. We have hosted, with the club, a number of events at The Valley, we are also represented on the Pride in Football Committee and we have been asked to give feedback and advice on many issues around homophobia in the sport, including being invited to speak at Parliament with members of the home committee into Sport.
“Our main reason for existence though is as a fan group for LGBTQI+ Charlton supporters and allies. We are lucky here at Charlton as we have some amazing fans. However, homophobia in football around the country has not been eradicated. This is why all the work we do with Charlton Athletic is so important.”
CACT Invicta player-manager Gary Ginnaw said:
“2017 was a monumental year for CACT with the launch of CACT Invicta FC, the first club, trust-affiliated LGBTQI+ friendly football team. Prior to the launch Charlton Athletic FC hosted its first Football v Homophobia match in March and the second annual Charlton vs Homophobia Football Tournament in May – all significant events in raising awareness of homophobia in football. The 2018 game against Oxford United will see Charlton Athletic Football Club once again lead the way in the fight against homophobia.
“CACT Invicta FC are currently sitting top of the London Unity League and the players are delighted to be attending the match in a sign of solidarity alongside our friends - Charlton Athletic FC, CACT, Proud Valiants and the Oxford LGBTQI supporters group - as we aim to end homophobic discrimination in football.”
Dr Michael Seeraj, CACT’s Head of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion said:
“Charlton has a long history of supporting equality and diversity initiatives in football, from the Charlton Athletic Race & Equality Partnership (CARE) tackling racism in the early 1990s to CACT supporting CIFC, who are enjoying a fantastic season, in 2018.
“We look forward to joining them and Proud Valiants in supporting the club’s Football v Homophobia match on 3 February, and we also welcome the Oxford United LGBTQI+ Supporters’ Group.”