Now Reading
Premier League football clubs sign anti-gay charter

Premier League football clubs sign anti-gay charter

Today, all Premier League football clubs will voluntarily sign-up to the government's Charter Against Homophobia and Transphobia.

The clubs will pledge their commitment to tackling abuse of LGBT people both on and off the pitch.

The four-point government backed charter aims to stamp out discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity in all sports and make sport a more welcoming environment for gay, bisexual and transgender people.

A charter for action was initially set-up in 2011 and was signed by the FA, Lawn Tennis Association, the England and Wales Cricket Board, the Rugby Football League and the Rugby Football Union.

Richard Scudamore, Chief Executive of the Premier League signed the charter on behalf of the League, saying: 'The Premier League and our member clubs believe that everyone should be able to participate in, watch and enjoy sport – whoever they are and whatever their background.'

Chris Basiurski, chairman of the Gay Football Supporters' Network has welcomed the signing of the charter: 'We are delighted that the Premier League Clubs have decided to sign the Government’s charter but we are conscious that is just the first step.

'We are keen to ensure that the clubs are not just making an empty gesture but are truly committed to the cause of tackling homophobia and we are calling on them to commit as much time and resources to this cause as they have previously demonstrated in the largely successful fight against racism.'

Sue Law, the FA's head of equality commented: 'It’s fantastic to see the football family united in taking a zero tolerance approach against homophobia and kicking discrimination out of our game.

'We’re committed to football for all and the Charter for Action is a real statement in carving out a welcoming environment for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in our sport.'

The issue of homophobia in sport has never been more prevalent continues Basiurski: 'With the recent BBC3 documentary highlighting that the issue of homophobia is prevalent in the game today, creating a safe and tolerant atmosphere in football for LGBT people has never been more important and we hope to see some real progress from the Clubs in the wake of their signing the Charter.'

The BBC3 documentary Britain's Gay Footballers, which had over 700,000 viewers, examines why there are no openly gay footballers in the Premier League.

The program was presented by Amal Fashanu, the niece of Justin Fashanu, the only ever openly gay British professional football who committed suicide shortly after publicly coming out as gay.

Premier League footballer Joey Barton appeared in the documentary and voiced his support for gay players whilst condemning the 'archaic' bosses who are frightened of homosexuality.

Adrian Trett, LGBT+ Liberal Democrats chair applauds the clubs for signing the charter, saying: 'It is a major step in getting the leading premiership football clubs in the game to acknowledge the issue and work with all the football communities to eradicate this kind of unacceptable behaviour in the 21st century.'

Dave Raval, Liberal Democrat in North London and the most senior referee in England to have publicly come out also thinks the charter will have a positive affect: 'The real impact of this charter is not on the 6,000 professional football players and referees in England, it is the effect this will have on young people looking for role models in the sport they love.'

In addition to the charter, a campaign poster which aims to raise awareness of homophobia has been sent to all Premier League and Football League clubs.

The poster, which shows two shirts in a locker room with Gay and Straight written on the back, bares the slogan: 'When you are part of a team you are never on your own – we are all winners. Football is committed to tackling homophobia.'

The FA will launch their own anti-Homophobia action plan Opening Doors and Joining In on 20 February.