The Proud Valiants, Charlton Athletic's official LGBTQI supporters group, have made history by becoming the first UK group to partner with a sister LGBTQI group overseas.
For a number of months the group has been working with the Loyal Rainbow Fans who are the LGBT supporters' group for the San Diego Loyals - a team that made international headlines last year when they walked off the pitch during a match after homophobic remarks were allegedly made.
Chair of the Proud Valiants, Rob Harris, said: "Our group is so proud to be twinning with the San Diego Loyal Rainbow Fans as the ethos of their players and management is second to none and should be applauded across the globe.
"After some enlightening chat with their chair we soon decided that there were a lot of things we could work on together both on a campaigning and a more social basis. It was lovely to sense the passion they have to fight against homophobia and transphobia in the sport is something all members of the Proud Valiants work on a daily basis."
Espen Correll, Chair of the Loyal Rainbows, added: "We are excited for the upcoming 2021 season, Our second year with the USL. Our first season response to racism and homophobia on the pitch set San Diego Loyal as a leader for education and action across the entire United States soccer community. Local, state, and national organizations are following our lead, 'I will Speak, I will Act'.
"To be twinning with the Proud Valiants at this time - whose history working with their club and Community Trust in fighting prejudice in the game especially around Homo/Trans/Bi Phobia in the UK is second to none, is a pleasure and it’s a partnership we look forward to sharing best practices and mutual support.”
The supporters' groups have a very special twinning event planned when the pandemic is over - but for now they are just pleased to be supporting each other.
Saturday's game against Portsmouth is the club's annual Football v Homophobia-themed matchday. Supporters wanting to get involved in a special comedy night as part of the themed-matchday activities can click here to find out more.