The EGLSF’s focus of the 11th edition of the FARE Action week has been Challenging homophobia in football.
In Football, the denial and invisibility of homosexuality are serious expressions of homophobia, this includes the silence of fans, players, coaches, clubs, and associations. When the opposing team or the referee is called “gay” most people aren’t aware that this is abusive. Homophobia and sexism are often understood as being part of the culture of football.
EGLSF believes that central to the work of all sports organisations should be the desire to create an atmosphere of acceptance of gay men and lesbians and a mandate for this should come from the highest levels. To counteract the silence surrounding homophobia and to combat the discrimination around sexual orientation in football, all football authorities have, first of all, to acknowledge the existence of lesbians and gay men.
While we keep waiting for a top player to ‘come out’, there is still a lot of work that can be done. We should be working to transform established structures of male bonding into a new form of solidarity; creating a new atmosphere, both on the pitch and on the terraces, in which diverse lifestyle choices are embraced and all individuals can participate without fear of persecution or ridicule.
During the FARE Week of Action: October 14-26, 2010, EGLSF produced a special poster, focusing on the topic of homophobia in football. The poster can downloaded as a PDF file at www.eglsf.info, and hard copies can be sent by regular mail upon request. EGLSF also encouraged organizations and individuals to take actions, however small, to signal that homophobia is unacceptable and make lesbians and gay men feel part of the European football community.
As a part of the activities, EGLSF also set up a Football for Equality fund, a grants programme allowing member organisation to apply for funding up to €1,000 for projects working to tackle homophobia in football. These took place between 14 and 26 October 2010. EGLSF is pleased to have been able to fund the following initiatives: Poland: A table football tournament for young people delivered by the Campaign Against Homophobia (KPH); Spain: Anti-discrimination action and education at targeted football matches, Colega Jaen; Ireland: An anti-discrimination football tournament, Insaka-Glentoran AFC; Slovenia: an awareness raising campaign at the students’ fair about racism & homophobia, Out In Slovenia; Germany: a football kit carrying messages of inclusion in 11 languages, Seitenwechsel. Anti-homophobia activities targeting university students, AFK; UK: A birthday football tournament including 14 LGBT and mainstream teams, London Titans.