Club and Trust back initiative
February is the international month of ‘Football v Homophobia’ (FvH) and Pompey are supporting the initiative in partnership with our majority shareholder, the Pompey Supporters’ Trust.
The Trust have sponsored some special t-shirts the players will wear during the warm-up before today’s match against AFC Wimbledon to back the campaign.
Club spokesman Colin Farmery said: “As a community club, we want to make Fratton Park a place in which all fans feel safe and respected. We were delighted to get involved in this campaign when we were approached.
“In the early 21st century, it is a shame issues such as this still need to be highlighted, but as a club, Pompey are more than prepared to do our bit to underline that homophobia and homophobic chanting in football is not acceptable.”
FvH unites fans, players, communities, grassroots teams, professional clubs and the football authorities in opposing homophobia and prejudice against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in football. The FA, the Premier League and the Football League back the initiative.
Year round, FvH enables people to take action against prejudice and discrimination based on sexuality or gender identity in football, and to celebrate and welcome diversity in the game. This culminates in an international show of support in February to raise awareness of the issue and to showcase new and existing work.
The campaign has been around since 2010 and manages to generate global attention. Fans and teams around the world, from Croatia to Mexico, have taken part and across the UK there has been a massive show of support. Pompey are proud to announce that this year we are backing the initiative too.
Homophobia and LGBT discrimination has long been an issue in football. In 1990 the first professional football player in the UK to come out as gay, Justin Fashanu, had an intense struggle with his sexuality and how it was received in the game.
More recently we have seen Robbie Rogers come out. Robbie retired briefly when he made the announcement about his sexuality. But now, following massive support from players and fans alike, he plays in the US for LA Galaxy.
Only last month, former Premier League player Thomas Hitzlsperger also came out as gay. Both of these players have talked about the challenge of being both gay and professional footballers, and the impact that anti-gay jokes and language can have on confidence and self-esteem.