Charlton and its Community Trust will host the club’s first ever Football v Homophobia week in January in partnership with the club’s LGBQT+ supporters’ group, the Proud Valiants, the club’s affiliated LGBTQI+ friendly team, Charlton Invicta, and club partner, the University of Greenwich.
The week, aimed at promoting equality and fighting homophobia in football, will include a host of activities, beginning with the women’s first-team’s Barclays Women’s Championship game at home to Lewes on Sunday, January 22nd and ending with the men’s first-team’s Sky Bet League One fixture at The Valley on Saturday, January 28th against Bolton Wanderers, live on Sky Sports.
The club has run a Football v Homophobia matchday in each of the last six seasons and last season ran its first ever Football v Homophobia weekend.
Further detail will be announced in the coming days, but initial activity to kick off Football v Homophobia’s month of action includes:
- Themed matchday: Charlton Women v Lewes at The Oakwood, live on CharltonTV
- Themed matchday: Charlton v Bolton Wanderers at The Valley, live on Sky Sports in the UK and CharltonTV outside the UK
- Online and in-person events throughout the week from the Proud Valiants in association with Charlton Athletic Community Trust (CACT) on promoting equality and tackling homophobia in football
- Presentation to Charlton academy players by the Proud Valiants about the impact of homophobia
Charlton Owner and CEO Thomas Sandgaard said: “I’m really pleased we’re able to launch the club’s first ever Football v Homophobia week after all the excellent work the club, our Community Trust, the Proud Valiants and Charlton Invicta have done over the years.
"Charlton has a proud history of leading on promoting equality and tackling discrimination - including winning the Football v Homophobia club award in 2021. This year our partners University of Greenwich are helping us expand the work we do around our Football v Homophobia themed activity and we will have a host of events going on throughout the week.”
University of Greenwich's Vice Chancellor, Professor Jane Harrington, said: “The well-documented challenges the LGBTQI+ community faced around the World Cup and the high profile homophobic chants at games in recent weeks show there is still plenty more work to do before we can say football is truly for everyone.
“The University of Greenwich are delighted to be part of the Charlton family, a family that has led the way on fighting racism in football and has become one of the leaders in challenging homophobia in the sport.
“Hopefully next week’s Football v Homophobia events will continue to influence those elsewhere as we spread a message of inclusivity.”
Dr Michael Seeraj, CACT and the club's Head of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI), added: "We are proud to be working with the University of Greenwich and partners on the upcoming Football v Homophobia week to fight homophobia in the sport.
"As well as activities taking place as part of men's and women's first-team matches in this period, we are delighted to be running seminars on equality and addressing homophobia."
Co-Chair and founder of the Proud Valiants Rob Harris said: “We are happy to continue to be involved with the Football v Homophobia’s month of action. These series of events are essential and come at a time where we have seen an increase in homophobia being displayed in football stadiums up and down the country. The unity we show with our work with the Charlton family demonstrates that any form of hatred is not welcome at The Valley.”
Gary Ginnaw, Charlton Invicta’s Chair, added: “We are delighted to be part of Charlton Athletic’s first ever Football v Homophobia week in partnership with Charlton Athletic Community Trust, University of Greenwich and Proud Valiants.
“The match against Bolton Wanderers will be the seventh game Charlton have dedicated to the Football v Homophobia month of action. Campaigns like Football v Homophobia help to raise awareness and visibility of the challenges faced by the LGBTQ+ community. Charlton and Charlton Athletic Community Trust take a strong stance against all forms of discrimination with the aim of making our game inclusive for everyone.”