This 2-day conference in Ljubljana, organized by SPOLINT in association with VIDC, united players from international and national sporting organisations (including FIFA and UEFA), representatives from grassroots organisations, NGOs, clubs, professional athletes, activists in LGBT rights, academics and sports professionals – all with the goal of discussing homophobia in football, in anticipation of the FIFA World Cup 2018 in Russia.

The two days were organized with a mix of workshops, plenary sessions and panel presentations, and united over 70 participants from 17 countries.

The panel discussions “Tackling Homophobia in European Football: Progress made and Challenges ahead” and “FIFA World Cup 2018 in Russia: A Chance to combat Homophobia and ensure Human Rights?” brought together the work that has been done thus far, and the work that is still to do.

EGLSF hosted the workshop Grassroots activism: Good practices, Initiatives, and Lessons to be learned. Our intervention focused on the EGLSF’s participation in this Erasmus+ sport project to make football more inclusive.

The EGLSF strategy was based a grassroots campaign initiative for inclusivity targeted at the UEFA European Football Championships 2016 in Paris and the Women’s European Football Championships 2017 in the Netherlands.

The workshop highlighted our actions at the Euro Pride House we ran in partnership with FSGL in Paris, with the various activities – panel discussions, networking sessions between European Football Fan Groups, match and games evenings – and those we hosted for the Women’s Euro Pride house, as well as supporting small grant Football vs Homophobia projects during the Football People action weeks in October.

The result of the discussions and workshops from this weekend’s efforts was the launch of a grassroots initiative to bring international awareness of the situation of LGBT rights in Russia, and pressure authorities to ensure LGBT safety and visibility during the upcoming World Cup in Russia.