Tom Rubashow reports
Charlton have rescheduled the Football v. Homophobia match for Tuesday evening when the club host Scunthorpe United at The Valley.
February was Football v. Homophobia month and the event was originally set for the postponed February 18th game against Oxford United.
The event will take place in partnership with Proud Valiants and Bexley Invicta. Proud Valiants is a supporters group founded by a number of Charlton fans for supporters of the club who identify themselves as part of the LGBT community, or friends and family of. Bexley Invicta is an open to all football team for people who want to play football in an LGBT-friendly setting.
Football v Homophobia exists to challenge discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and expression at all levels in football and Tuesday’s activity will include:
- The first teams of Charlton and Scunthorpe wearing Football v Homophobia shirts during the team warm-ups. The shirts will be donated to Charlton supporter club Proud Valiants
- A player mascot will walk out with the players waving rainbow flags
- An article in the matchday programme
- A video feature on the big screen detailing the experience of representatives of the Proud Valiants and Bexley Invicta
- Pitchside interviews with representatives of Proud Valiants and Bexley Invicta
Club development manager Lisa Squires said: “We’re proud to be hosting our first Football v Homophobia game. 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 LGBTQI+ football and we will be doing it again this year.”
Bexley Invicta player/manager Gary Ginnaw said “The game marks a special occasion for everyone concerned with Charlton Athletic Football Club and the Proud Valiants, because today is the first ever dedicated Charlton match to support the Football v Homophobia campaign. 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!”
Chairperson of Proud Valiants Rob Harris said: “Charlton has always been a more family orientated club - there has always been a feeling of inclusion for all at The Valley. Tackling homophobia is a real issue today and through this dedicated match, the endorsement of The Proud Valiants and the Joint Charlton vs Homophobia Tournament in the Summer. Charlton are one of the leading clubs in the country supporting and dealing with LGBTQI+ issues and challenging homophobia in the game.”
Dr Michael Seeraj, Head of Equality, Diversity & Inclusion at Charlton Athletic Community Trust said: “We at CACT are passionate about promoting positive relations between groups and communities, so we are delighted to be part of the first Football v Homophobia game at The Valley. We’re looking forward to continuing to promote LGBTQ+ issues as part of our broader equality and diversity work."
Since 2016, Bexley Invicta FC, Charlton Athletic, Charlton Athletic Community Trust (CACT) and Charlton Athletic Race & Equality (CARE) Partnership have worked closely together to develop an on-going partnership. As part of that partnership Bexley Invicta FC now hosts its weekly training sessions at Charlton Athletic’s Sparrows Lane training ground and play their home games at the same venue.
Football v Homophobia was originally conceived and launched by the Justin Campaign in 2010.The Justin Campaign www.thejustincampaign.com, a small voluntary run football campaign group, was founded in 2008 to demonstrate that ten years after Justin Fashanu’s tragic suicide in 1998, homophobia was still hugely prevalent in both grassroots and professional football. Along with raising awareness the campaign had a strong focus on Art, Events, Education and football.
In 2012, LGBT Sports Development and Equity organisation Pride Sports www.pridesports.org.uk joined with the Justin campaign to help deliver Football v Homophobia, and in 2014 the organisation took over the delivery of the campaign altogether. Whilst the campaign receives wide-ranging support throughout football, core funding for Football v Homophobia is sought on a year-by-year basis.
If you or your organisation/company would like further information about the campaign and find out about more ways to get involved, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or, for more information on Proud Valiants, email proud email@example.com.
Read Time: 4 mins