Gay Football Supporters’ National League team London Falcons GFC are looking forward to Budapest 2012.
With the football season underway, a local Richmond team are hoping to regain the national title and go on to retain their European title in Budapest in 2012.
London Falcons GFC, who play in the Gay Football Supporters’ National League (GFSN), was set up in 2006 for LGBT men to play the sport they love in a safe, friendly environment.
The club was set up to challenge similar teams from all over the country – and they succeeded.
The league sees clubs from all over the UK unite together, working with the FA in anti-homophobic initiatives.
Since 2003 the issue has been on the agenda for football’s main governing bodies. However, more work is needed to stamp homophobic behaviour out of main-stream football.
Tom Price, a Falcons player, admits that anti-homophobic initiatives have been added to the ‘Kick It Out’ campaign, but said: “I do not believe the FA or Premier League do enough at the moment.”
The memory of Justin Fashanu is still prolific; currently there are no major league football players who are publicly gay.
Danny Lynch, a Kick It Out spokesman, said players fear their market value may be affected by revealing their sexuality, which may curtail an already relatively short career.
He added it may be a ‘generational thing’, with some managers perhaps viewing homosexuality negatively.
Kick It Out supports grass roots organisations such as the GFSN, and also lobbies the governing body to ensure they are creating a safe environment for players and supporters. Established in 1993 to tackle racism, it focuses on a broader range of issues.
The problems are not the same though, which is why the campaign works with groups like GFSN to look for solutions.
“It’s not a like for like thing- you can hide your sexuality, you can’t hide that you’re black,” Mr Lynch added.
With teams such as the London Falcons having international success and gaining an increasingly large following, the issue of homophobia in football is becoming increasingly hard to ignore.
Attitudes need to change for the problem to cease being one.
Mr Lynch said: “A lot of what we would deem as homophobic is dismissed as banter.”
Until then, GFSN will keep campaigning against homophobia and London Falcons GFC will hope to keep winning trophies and fulfill their dream of victory in Budapest.