The FA strengthens commitment to make football everyone’s game
The FA has today ‘Come Out for LGBT’ equality in football with a new strategic partnership with Stonewall, the UK’s leading charity for lesbian, gay, bi and trans equality.
The initiative shows The FA’s commitment to creating an inclusive game where all LGBT people are welcome and accepted.
Celebrations of the partnership kick off with a ground-breaking fixture at Wembley Stadium between Britain’s most successful LGBT football club, Stonewall FC, and Wilberforce Wanderers AFC.
The match is set to take place during this year’s Rainbow Laces campaign that will see sport across Britain turn rainbow. From 17 November – 7 December, fans, players, sport officials and organisations will proudly demonstrate their commitment to LGBT equality by taking part in the campaign.
As part of the partnership, The FA has signed up to be a Stonewall Diversity Champion. Stonewall works with more than 760 organisations to help them create workplaces that are welcoming and accepting of LGBT people.
As a Diversity Champion, The FA and Stonewall will work together to review policies, practices and staff training and work on changes needed to ensure every person can be themselves. This will include delivering a programme for non-LGBT employees to learn about how they can be an active ally in creating an inclusive environment for lesbian, gay, bi and trans people at all levels of the organisation.
Kirsty Clarke, Director of Sport, Stonewall said: ‘It’s so important that we’re now working with the FA. We need everyone involved in the national game at every level of football, from the community to the elite, to feel included and welcome. To have Stonewall FC invited to play at Wembley is a symbolic demonstration by the FA and it sends a powerful message that LGBT people are a welcome part of the football family.’
Paul Elliott, Chair of The FA’s Inclusion Advisory Board [IAB], said: ‘This new relationship presents an opportunity for football to help change hearts and minds beyond the stadia, as well as ensuring that everyone who makes football happen feels included. Whether players, supporters, members of the vital volunteer workforce, employees of The FA, contract staff or anyone else connected to the game, no one should be left behind. The principle behind this partnership therefore embraces the philosophy that the game is for anyone, anytime, anywhere.
Eric Najib Armanazi, Stonewall Football Club Manager, said: ‘Stonewall FC is honoured and excited to be invited by The FA to play a home fixture at Wembley Stadium. This event is a landmark moment for all those who have worked tremendously hard to eradicate all forms of discrimination within football, including our sponsors TeamPride. We are delighted that Stonewall FC will be able to showcase our talent under the stadium’s famous arch. This game will mark the pinnacle in my 12 and a half years as manager of the Club and I am extremely thankful to all those involved that made this happen.’