Stonewall is Britain’s leading charity for LGBT issues and the Premier League will now join its global diversity champions programme, which works to improve diversity and equality here and abroad.
The league will also up its efforts to tackle homophobic abuse, whether in stadiums or online, and will focus on improving its reporting measures and training staff at clubs to better address homophobia.
In a statement, Premier League executive chairman Richard Scudamore said: “Premier League football is for everyone, everywhere and our clubs are committed to equality and diversity at all levels of the sport.
“We view the LGBT community as an integral part of our community and, working with Stonewall, we want this partnership to improve the experience of LGBT people already playing football, and supporting clubs, and to signal to others who might be interested in getting involved, that they are welcome to do so.”
The campaign will be repeated this year, between November 24 and December 3, with plans for a show of support across a round of matches announced next week.
The continuing reluctance of gay players to come out during their careers remains a significant issue for men’s football, particularly when it is compared to the women’s game or even other men’s sports such as cricket and rugby.
FA chairman Greg Clarke memorably told a panel of MPs last year that he would not encourage a player to come out at the present time because he was worried about the reception they would receive from the terraces and on social media.
Clarke added at the time he was “ashamed” that a player had yet to feel confident enough to do so.
Stonewall chief executive Ruth Hunt, however, is optimistic that football is becoming more tolerant.
“The Premier League have stepped up and demonstrated how committed they are to helping make football inclusive and welcoming of LGBT people,” said Hunt.
“The reasons for the lack of LGBT inclusion in sport are complex. There’s no 10-point charter, or pledge that will prevent someone for shouting homophobic abuse. It needs concentrated work, careful attention and a thought-through strategy to ensure no-one is left behind.
“We look forward to working together with the Premier League to create a game where everyone is able to be themselves.”
COMMENT: Every bloody week sees someone or other trying to crowbar their personal issues into the public domain via football. If it isn’t the parents of some kid on chemotherapy it’s a yet another ‘milestone’ from Hillsborough’s grief machine.
Look at golf, darts, Formula 1 and horse racing… to the best of my knowledge none of these disciplines are routinely used as vehicles for the bleeding hearts and pity me campaigns that infest football.
How has football found itself perpetually hijacked – and hijacked it has well and truly been – then?
The answer is that football is not just the most amoral of the lot, but it has also become the most distanced from where it all began.
All this keeping it real with the fans is 100% phoney. Hoodwinkery at it’s lowest level. Only football feels that it needs to ingratiate itself with it’s customers to such a bizarrely cheap and ultimately intrusive extent.
Let me make where I am on this even clearer for those of you still struggling.
I remember being at The Lane and the two clowns next to me were busily tucking into bagels. Christ on unicycle. Mastication. One of man’s greatest inhumanities unto his fellow man. I’m neurotic about this sort of thing. It’s grotesque. Who enjoys listening to anyone else eating? The smell. Only a deranged person would.
Up until the goal went in, I wanted him dead. Brown bread. As fast as my synapses could manage it I’d already pictured this delicious scene whereby the guy next to me eating the tuna mayo bagel [fatally] choked and as he fell to his asphyxiated death I’d give him the most gentle of nudges (disguised as a compassionate attempt to hold the fellow) out onto the stairs so that the stewards et al could deal with him without further disturbing me.
The goal went in against the Villa and I was not just hugging this oesophageal antichrist; we were both trying to lift each other up like the FA Cup. I could smell his fishy hell as we held each other. I was holding onto him with the sort of passionate clinch one would normally reserve for greeting a long lost relative at an Arrivals gate.
Sins of the fish rescinded.
I wasn’t vaguely thinking of anything deep about the man. Was he pro-life? Was he a pedophile? Football took over.
Who the hell thinks like that as a goal goes in? In the moment of celebration there is no time to carry out personality profiling. If he’s delighted and I’m delighted then so am I. Embrace. Leap. All that. Repeat. Hopefully lots.
The LGBT are a bunch of self obsessives that have no place whatsoever at any football matches.
Are they haunting the darts, the golf or racecourses? No they are not.
Because none of those sports would indulge them. Are they infesting the doorways of department stores? No they are not. Because none of those businesses would indulge them. They would look utterly ridiculous.
So whatever concerns either real and imagined the LGBT lobby have – don’t bother me with them at a football match. Thanks, but no thanks.
Even Stephen Fry isn’t interested
— Proud Canaries (@proudcanaries) May 12, 2017
I took a tuna mayo bagel without prejudice. I wouldn’t have casually done so had I known it would result in tuna mayo flags and a tuna mayo lobby within the fan base being recognised by the club and the Premier League.
The sexual preferences of fans/players are none of my business – sex to me is a very private thing – it’s between you and the person you’re doing it to. I don’t want to know. I’d prefer not to know. Where people choose to hide their salami bores me beyond all else. It’s not fascinating, it’s dull dull dull.
So kick everyone out of football that has nothing to do with football, the Nazis, the gluten intolerants, the bicurious pagans…
Take your boring non-football beefs and inflict them on someone else. Let football take over again. It’s been a while…