Pompey showing support for campaign this weekend
Portsmouth Football Club and the Pompey Supporters’ Trust have teamed up to back a national campaign to stamp out homophobia in football.
Saturday’s clash with Exeter at Fratton Park has been designated to support the 2015 Football v Homophobia campaign – and the players will be wearing special t-shirts in the pre-match warm up which have been provided by the Trust.
The club have also invited representatives from Portsmouth Pride 2015 – which is organising an event on June 20 to celebrate the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) contribution to the city – to attend the game.
Pompey club captain Johnny Ertl said: “This is a vital campaign, as it is important football shows respect for everyone involved in the sport.
“Whether you are a player, fan, match official or staff member, the crucial thing is our mutual love of the game. I am proud to be able to back this campaign on behalf of the club.”
Johnny received the t-shirts at the new training ground from PST chairman Ken Malley and Trust board member Pam Wilkins.
Ken said: “Inclusion and diversity are high on the Trust agenda, as we want to ensure that, as a community club, Pompey are a team everyone is comfortable to support.
“I was delighted when the club invited us to sponsor these t-shirts, as it shows both organisations are very much on the same wavelength.”
The FA and Football League-backed Football v Homophobia campaign has been running for five years now and Pompey first supported it last season in the home game against AFC Wimbledon.
Colin Farmery, who is responsible for inclusion and anti-discrimination at the club, added: “We have a clear strategy to ensure Pompey is a club which appeals to everyone in our community and supporting campaigns like this are a high-profile way to underline that discrimination of any kind will not be tolerated.
“The fact our friends at Exeter are also fully backing what we are trying to do shows how football is really taking these issues seriously these days.
“There are more than 50 clubs and associations up and down the country supporting this campaign in February and we are proud to be one of them.
“We are also delighted to have representatives from Portsmouth Pride 2015 at the match. As a community club we are always looking to build bridges with all groups in our city and we were really pleased when they readily accepted to our invitation.”
David Lee-Bastable is chair of Portsmouth Pride 2015. He said: “I am a long-standing Pompey fan myself and I very much welcome the opportunity to give Pride’s full support to the club’s initiative.
“One of the aims of the city’s Pride event this year is to show the diversity of our community and to that end we are very pleased the club contacted us.
“We fully back the club being so pro-active in working with the local LGBT community.”
Lou Englefield, Football v Homophobia campaign director, said: “I’d like to add my thanks to Pompey for supporting the campaign for a second consecutive season.
“It's fantastic to see a community club like Portsmouth taking a stand against discrimination and being proactive in welcoming the local LGBT community to Fratton Park.”
Exeter City Trust chair Laurence Overend said “We are pleased to support Portsmouth’s designated match and applaud the work of its Trust in raising the profile of the campaign.
“Our designated match was on Tuesday against Cambridge and was a great success. I am sure the Portsmouth match will be equally as successful.
“I hope that Supporters’ Trusts will continue to work in partnership against discrimination in all its forms.”