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More clubs in Scotland have pledged to make the game more inclusive for LGBT+ fans.

The Equality Network’s Scottish LGBTI Hate Crime Report published this year showed 15% of LGBTI people had experienced hate targeted at them while watching football and 51% said they had witnessed it.

A 2012 study by the Equality Network showed that 57% of LGBT people would be more likely to participate in sport if it was more LGBT friendly, and that football was the sport identified as having the biggest challenges to overcome, by some margin, in relation to LGBT inclusivity.

Now for the first time two-thirds of SPFL clubs and the entire SPFL Premiership have taken a stand by signing up to the Scottish LGBT Sports Charter.

The move is coordinated by Scottish LGBTI charity the Equality Network, who developed and launched the charter, and the Stonewall Rainbow Laces campaign.

Sixteen clubs from across Scotland join the thirteen clubs already signed up, making up two-thirds of the teams in the SPFL. All twelve clubs in the SPFL premiership have now signed up, and the first club from the West of Scotland Super League, Clydebank FC, has also signed up.

It’s the first time in Scotland that so many clubs have made a commitment to better include LGBT people in the beautiful game and it includes the biggest clubs in Scottish Football.

The Charter includes a set of five principles which aim to remove the barriers to sport for LGBT people. Over thirty governing bodies of sport have also signed up, including the Scottish Football Association, Scottish Rugby and Scottish Athletics. Last week the SPFL become one of the latest signatories.

Big applause to those signing up to the charter this week: Dundee, Hamilton Accies, Kilmarnock, Motherwell, Ross County, Dundee United, Dunfermline, Falkirk, St Mirren, Annan Athletic, Berwick Rangers, Clyde, Edinburgh City, Stenhousemuir, Stirling Albion & Clydebank.

They join Aberdeen, Celtic, Hearts, Hibs, Partick Thistle, Rangers, St Johnstone, Dumbarton, Airdrie, Albion Rovers, Forfar, Elgin City and Peterhead.

Scott Cuthbertson, Development Manager of the Equality Network said: “With two thirds of SPFL clubs signed up to the LGBT Charter we’ve reached a milestone, but we’ve still a long way to go before we eliminate homophobia from the terraces.

“We’re looking forward to working with these clubs who today have made a commitment to LGBT supporters, officials and the next generation of LGBT players. Our door is always open to clubs who haven’t yet signed up and who want to make their club more inclusive.”

The charter states:

“Scotland will be a country where everyone can take part, enjoy, and succeed in sport at all levels whatever their sexual orientation and gender identity”, it was developed in consultation with sports governing bodies (SGBs), other sports stakeholders and LGBT people.

SPFL Chief Executive Neil Doncaster said: “We are pleased to offer our support to the Equality Network’s Scottish LGBT Sports Charter by becoming a signatory, and are glad to see that 28 of our member clubs have already also signed up or are in the process of doing so.

“We have previously demonstrated our commitment to inclusivity and diversity in sport by backing Stonewall’s Rainbow Laces campaign and now look forward to also working with the Equality Network on these matters. We would also encourage all of our member clubs who wish to sign up to take that opportunity.”

John Nelms, Managing Director of Dundee FC said: “Dundee FC pride ourselves on equality and inclusion for all and we are delighted to sign up to the Scottish LGBT Sports Charter. It’s heartening to see so many clubs throughout the leagues showing their support for the charter.”

Kilmarnock FC chief executive Kirsten Callaghan added: “Kilmarnock Football Club is proud to sign up to the Equality Network’s Scottish LGBT Sports Charter. Everyone is welcome to attend our matches in line with our club’s strong belief in equality and inclusion.

“Abuse and intolerance of any person based on their sexual orientation or gender identity is simply unacceptable and must be confronted wherever it is found. Next week we will stand proudly with our opponents St Johnstone in showing our support for Stonewall Scotland’s Rainbow Laces campaign.”

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