The launch of England’s Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Football Coaches Network will take place at the Football Association’s National Football Centre, St George’s Park on Sunday 21 February .
The network is an initiative of Pride Sports, the LGBT Sports Development and Equity Organisation for England, and its development has been funded through the UEFA Captains of Change Programme.
The launch of the coaches network comes after a snapshot survey of over 100 LGBT football coaches last summer found that found that 78% of LGBT coaches had experienced negativity towards LGBT people during their career, and that just under half of the lesbian, gay and bisexual respondents weren’t out in their coaching role.
James Earl, Network Steering Group Chair, explains: “We want to change that by providing positive role models for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender coaches, highlighting where there has been success and building a community. We also want to raise awareness of the fabulous contribution LGBT coaches are making to the national game.”
The new network will welcome membership from all sections of the LGBT coaching community, from grassroots to the professional game and will also welcome coaches who see themselves as allies to the LGBT coaching community. The network has ambitions to hold CPD sessions for its members, provide an online discussion forum, and provide an opportunity for inclusive football employers to advertise coaching opportunities on their website.
The network launch is supported by The FA and the Association’s Head of Grassroots Football, Les Howie, comments: “We’re delighted to be hosting this important event. We consider St. George’s Park to be the home of coaching and, as such, open to those on the coaching journey from all levels and backgrounds. Along with the work we are doing in FA Education, this network of coaches is an important step in breaking down barriers in tackling homophobia and transphobia in football.”
The launch event at St George’s Park provides an opportunity for coaches to access a CPD session from one of The FA’s top-flight UEFA A licensed coaches, followed by a panel discussion featuring former QPR Manager Chris Ramsey along with members of the Network Steering Group.