Wednesday, 25 May 2011


Last weekend, The Justin Fashanu All-Stars men's team were victorious in The FA-organised LGBT Champions League final, beating a strong London Titans side by a 4-3 margin.

The tournament was part of the UEFA Champions League festival, held at Hyde Park in London, in the run-up to the actual Champions League final on Saturday 29th May.

The finalists even had their picture taken alongside the Champions League trophy itself.

The London Lesbian Kickabouts won the women's trophy in a tournament which also saw The Justin Fashanu All-stars womens' side take part.

The event was superbly organised by The FA and highlighted how much more beautiful the beautiful game is when we are all included.

For more information, contact Communications Director Alan Duffy at alan@thejustincampaign.

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Enough is Enough

A year ago, 15-year-old Dominic Crouch jumped from a six-storey building.

Six months after the tragic incident his family discovered their loved son had been subjected to homophobic bullying at school.

In a very frank interview to promote the Lesbian and Gay Foundation's Enough is Enough campaign, his father Roger Crouch talks about why youngsters are often on the end of homophobic bullying from their peers.

Mr Crouch said: "Bullies should think about the consequences as what may seem like a laugh can have serious consequences on a lot of people.

"I don't think those bullies imagined for one minute that Dominic would have gone missing from school and then gone to a six-storey building.

"Even if he were gay it should have been his choice [to come out] rather than somebody else do it on his behalf."

He added schools need to do more to create a positive culture, something both the LGF and the Justin Campaign are working to do.

Perhaps most shocking was Mr Crouch stating while there had been a huge number of positive comments in support of the family after the incident, there had also been a huge amount of homophobic statements on websites that had been incredibly upsetting.

It does make you question when, even when a family has lost a son in such tragic circumstances, why people still continue public displaying bigoted ways.

The abuse that Dom received from his peers is no different to thousands of footballers and fans across the globe.

Like Dom, they may not necessarily be gay but are still subjected to homophobic abuse dressed up in the form of "banter".

Former Spurs and Arsenal defender Sol Campbell is one player who comes to mind but there are many others, most of whom keep the hurt trapped up inside.

But there is always a breaking point.

For some this is raging and screaming in private; others it is public retaliation; regrettably and tragically a number decide to end their own lives.

Please take time out to watch the full interview here and remember the consequences of any actions you may take.

To find out more about the Lesbian and Gay Foundation visit here.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

A Petition Demanding The Resignation of Croatian Football Federation President Markovic

The Justin Campaign's Keph Senett has created this superb petition. Please read her words and then sign it!

Yesterday was International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia. I spent the day creating a petition entitled Fight Homophobia in Football: Demand The Resignation of Croatian Football Federation President Vlatko Markovic, calling for Markovic's resignation after homophobic comments he made back in November 2010.

"As long as I'm president [of the Croatian football federation] there will be no gay players," Markovic said. And, "Thank goodness only healthy people play football." The comment caused a public outcry, and resulted in two discrimination lawsuits. The first suit was dismissed by a Croatian court a few weeks ago.

The petition specifically calls on the UEFA to demand Markovic's resignation. Here are some details, from the petition:
At the time, the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) opened a disciplinary case against Markovic under Article 11 of its Disciplinary Code which obliges it to impose sanctions on any football association if an official “insults the human dignity of a person or group of persons”.
In February of 2011, after a contentious election, both FIFA and the UEFA confirmed Markovic for a fourth term as Federation president.

The UEFA has positioned itself as an organization with a commitment to equality. In 2008, the organization launched the Respect campaign, which “dovetails with programmes aimed at combating violence, racism, xenophobia and homophobia, as well as at nurturing fan support, intercultural dialogue, the environment and humanitarian relief.”
More recently, in mid-February, the UEFA officially endorsed The Justin Campaign, a group dedicated to ending homophobia in football.
For more background on the case via my blog, click here.

I'm trying to collect 25,000 signatures, and I could really use your help.

To sign the petition click here

Once you're done, please ask your friends to sign the petition as well. Grassroots movements succeed because people like you are willing to spread the word.

Thank you.

Keph Senett

Monday, 16 May 2011

Justin Campaign supports International Day against Homphobia

Tomorrow is the International Day against Homophobia.

The Justin Campaign is fully behind the international initiative founded by the Fondation Émergence to, in its own words, "fight this scourge on our societies".

Much like the Justin Campaign's very own successful international event Football v Homophobia, it is a day which is not just for those who are experience prejudice.

A spokesman for the Justin Campaign said: "Even now in the 21st Century there are people who are on the receiving end of the most appalling and horrific abuse due to their sexuality. This is simply not right.

"We have shown through Football v Homophobia the positive message that can come about when people from all sections of society come together. But even in sport there are areas where progress is still needed before all can enjoy without fear.

"We urge everybody to get involved in some way, whether it is by putting a poster up, raising the rainbow flag or simply by letting friends and family know that equality is far from a reality for many. The more that know the further the message can be spread."

For more details on what you can do visit here.

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Bi and Trans Community Consultations

Following the huge success of the 2011 edition of Football v Homophobia, The Justin Campaign was decided to reach out to both the Bi and Trans communities in the hope of creating two new initiatives - Football v Biphobia and Football v Transphobia.

However, before we launch these new initiatives, we want to hear the view of these two communities, so we can move forward and plan our strategy in the most appropriate way.

We have created two online questionnaires, one for the Bi community and one for the Trans community.

Click on the relevant questionnaire below here and let us know what you think.

Bi survey

Trans survey

Thank you for your help!

The Justin Campaign team.

Thursday, 12 May 2011

Justin Campaign Article In Delayed Gratification

The Justin Campaign's Director of Communications, Alan Duffy, is featured in the latest editio of a superb new slow news quarterly, Delayed Gratification, which takes a detailed look at the news of the previous three months.

Alan discusses England cricketer Steven Davies' decision to publicly come out as well as the issue of homosexuality and sport in general.

Click on the image to see the article.

And check out Delayed Gratification is you want to subscribe to this superb publication.

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Aslie Pitter MBE makes Justin Fashanu All-Stars debut

May 2nd, Justin Fashanu Day, was a busy time for the campaign, but one of the great events that took place to commemorate Justin was a football tournament in Brighton.

With teams from the Justin Fashanu All-Stars going head to head against sides including The Morning Star and Young Anarchists, the day was a huge success.

One of the highlights was the appearance of Justin Campaign patron, Aslie Pitter MBE, who currently plays for Stonewall FC. Aslie (pictured above, on the left, with Simon Hawker) donned the famous pink jersey and was one of the star performers of the day.

The Justin Fashanu All-Stars eventually bowed out in the semi-finals of the tournament. After a goalless draw in the first game, the Allstars fell behind in the second but pulled level, deservedly so through Andy Cooper's goal. This meant a play-off to reach the semi-finals
against the Socialists team. The All-Stars impressed in the clash, winning 2-0 with goals from Cooper again and a Simon Hawker penalty. However, the semi-final proved a step too far for the Allstars who succumbed to a 4-0 defeat.

The All-Stars women's side recovered from a 3-0 defeat in their first game to eventually finish runners-up in the Women's tournament. Strong defensive displays ensured three clean sheets in the competition with Sue Oliver's goal securing a 1-0 victory sandwiched in between two 0-0 draws.

Having Aslie take part was the icing on the cake on a day when we marked the anniversary of Justin's death by doing what he loved most of all - playing football.

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Persistence is key

12 months ago an effort from one of the largest sports in Australian to raise awareness about homophobia drastically failed.

Well known Aussie Rules player Jason Akermanis wrote an editorial for the Herald Sun advising gay players to "Stay in the Closet".

He added: "Locker room nudity and homoerotic activities are normal inside footy clubs", but advised young gay players who are "thinking of telling the world [about their sexual orientation to] forget it."

The result of these words was to instantly put pay to the small steps taken by the
Australian Football League and its player association.

Indeed, former Aussie Rugby League star Ian Roberts - still the only male footballer from Australia's dominant sports to come out - told one magazine: "There are kids out there in the suburbs who are killing themselves because of comments like that."

It was the equivalent of Craig Bellamy or Scott Parker from penning a high-profile column in the Daily Mirror or Sunday People.

Any encouragement that ARL fans had to ditch its macho stereotypes was instantly screwed up and thrown in the bin.

It would have been very easy for the sport to shelve any plans to promote equality for a few years.

Yet, thanks to a small group of players, the issue of tackling homophobia is still alive.

In contrast with last year's high profile efforts, this year sees three players going into speak to clients of the national youth mental health foundation about the issue.

On May 17, the trio will attend an event for the day and judge a design competition with the theme "In my eyes, homophobia is out of bounds".

Their efforts have the support of 17-year-old Hannah Williams, who made national headlines in Oz last year after Ivanhoe Girls' Grammar School forbade her to take her girlfriend to the end of school party.

She said: "I've heard that a lot of guys believe that it's a lot easier for girls to come out because there are a lot of celebrity girls who are lesbian.

"Guys tend to stay in the closet for a lot longer and normally don't choose to come out unless something happens."

The Justin Campaign, which runs its own educational programme, praises these players and indeed the player's association for doing such work.

High profile media stunts are important to get word across and raise awareness about topics.

But, as has been shown, it can so easily go wrong, and ultimately has no impact on the very people suffering from accepting who they really are.

Yet these three players simply talking to young people about the issue will not only raise awareness but will have a deep impact on people clearly troubled. It could in fact save lives.

Substance over style, actions speak louder than words - let's ditch the cliches and just tackle an issue which has no place in any part of society.

Friday, 6 May 2011

A statement from Croatia's Center For LGBT Equality

We thought that you should all read this statement from Croatia's Center For LGBT Equality on the recent decision by the Zagreb courts not to prosecute Croatian Football Federation boss Vlatko Markovic over his appalling remarks made last year.


We are writing to you with the intent of drawing your attention to the repeated homophobic statements given to the media by the President of the Croatian Football Federation VLATKO MARKOVIĆ and the executive president of FC Dinamo Zagreb ZDRAVKO MAMIĆ.

The facts and contents of this letter are known to relevant Croatian authorities, the Office of the Ombudsman and the Gender Equality Ombudsperson, as well as the Croatian public. Our organisations have also filed a lawsuits against Vlatko Marković and Zdravko Mamić for the violation of the Anti-Discrimination Act and the Sports Act.

The lawsuit was filed on the grounds of the statements given by the defendant Vlatko Marković to the daily newspaper Večernji list, dated 7th of November, 2010.

The statement in question is found in a Večernji list article entitled 'There's No Room for a Gay in the [Croatia national football team]', in which he responded to the reporter Tomislav Dasović's questions as follows:

Could an openly gay player be a part of the Croatian selection?
- Not while I'm the president, certainly not!

Have you ever met such a player in your career?
- No, luckily, only healthy people play football.

On the 16th of November 2010, after the controversial statement of Mr Marković that was relayed by numerous web portals and television broadcasts, in an article entitled 'Homosexuals Wouldn't Play for My Selection, Either' the daily newspaper Jutarnji list published a statement by Mr Mamić in which he claims that 'gay football players can't play for the selection' since, due to their 'slight build', he sees gay men as more suited to 'working in other fields, such as being ballet dancers, authors or journalists'.

Mr Mamić verified the authenticity of said article in court, adding that his words were faithfully conveyed; while Mr Marković stated that his statements had been misinterpreted.

Acting as the central authority in the elimination of discrimination, the Ombudsman has urged the Ministry of Science, Education and Sports, the Croatian Olympic Committee and the Croatian Football Federation to take all the legal and other measures stipulated by the law and their regulations, in order to prevent and sanction discriminatory statements and acts.

Since to this day there have been no institutional measures taken to inspect the responsibility of Mr Marković and Mr Mamić, we have decided to inform UEFA about the situation.

Within the class action suits against Mr Marković and Mr Mamić, our organisations have requested the court ban any further appearances in the media, in a way that is discriminatory based on one's sexual orientation, and there be issued a public apology in a daily newspaper for making such statements, at their own expense.

We would like to remind you that this is not the first time a person of a high position in Croatian football openly expressed their homophobic sentiments, spread prejudice and invited discrimination against LGBT persons. In the 2004, the then national team coach Mr Otto Barić made an almost identical statement, for which UEFA took disciplinary action against him.

Kind regards,

For Center for LGBT Equality,

  • Marko Jurčić
  • Karla Horvat Crnogaj
  • Matea Popov
  • Franko Dota
  • Danijela Almesberger
  • Gordan Bosanac
  • Zvonimir Dobrović

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Court dismisses discrimination suit against “no homosexuals” football president Vlatko Markovic

Keph Senett is a Canadian writer living in Mexico who’s proudly played soccer on four continents. You can read more from her at She’s part of the Communications team for The Justin Campaign.

Earlier this week judge Jasenka Grgic of the Zagreb county court rejected one of two discrimination cases filed against president of the Croatian Football Federation, Vlatko Markovic.

The complaint comes after Markovic made the following remarks: “While I’m a president of the Croatian Football Federation, there will be no homosexuals playing in the national team,” he said, adding that “only normal people play football.”

The incident resulted in two discrimination suits – one by the Center for LGBT Equality and another by Center for Peace Studies. According to the Croatian Times, Grgic felt that “direct discrimination” had not been proven. Further, the judge suggested that the suit was misdirected, and that an employment discrimination suit might be filed against the Federation, but not Markovic.

“We believe that the problem is very deep because Vlatko Markovic is the head of Croatian football, and sport – according to Law on Sports – must be equally accessible to all, regardless of gender, race, religion or sexual orientation,” said Marko Jurcic on behalf of the plaintiffs. The group has said they will appeal to the high courts.

The second suit is scheduled to be heard in June 2011.

Shortly after Markovic’s original remarks, the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) opened a disciplinary case against Markovic, under Article 11 of its Disciplinary Code which obliges it to impose sanctions on any football association if an official “insults the human dignity of a person or group of persons”.

The matter was scheduled to be heard on November 25, 2010. If such a hearing took place, I can find no evidence of it, and in February of 2011, after a contentious election, both FIFA and the UEFA confirmed Markovic for a fourth term as Federation president.

The decisions of the courts aside, the UEFA has positioned itself as an organization with a commitment to equality. In 2008, the organization launched the Respect campaign, which “dovetails with programmes aimed at combating violence, racism, xenophobia and homophobia, as well as at nurturing fan support, intercultural dialogue, the environment and humanitarian relief.”

More recently, in mid-February, UEFA officially endorsed The Justin Campaign, a group dedicated to ending homophobia in football. The UEFA has the power and the policy to hold Markovic and the Croatian Football Federation accountable, and as a fan that’s committed to equality on and off the pitch, I want to see it happen.

Questions for the UEFA? Comments? The contact form for the UEFA is here.

Monday, 2 May 2011

Amal Fashanu Talks To The Justin Campaign

On this important day, Justin Fashanu Day, the anniversary of the death of the first, and until very recently, only professional footballer to publicly come out, The Justin Campaign speaks to Justin's niece, Amal Fashanu, a woman who has worked with the campaign to both honour her uncle's memory and fight homophobia in the game.

What kind of relationship did you have with Justin?
I have always believed I was Justin's favourite, since I am his only niece and my relationship with him was simply amazing. The best uncle I could have asked to have.

What kind of person was he?
It's difficult to write in words what kind of a person he was as I would only say an infinite list of positive things. From what I can remember he was kind hearted, generous, loving, open, friendly and very talented.

What are you fondest memories of Justin?
I remember coming back from school one afternooon and finding Justin at home. I couldn't believe it. I was so excited and after dinner Justin, my mum and I had desert. If I'm correct it was strawberrys with cream that night, and as always he decided to spice things up so we started a strawberries and cream war. We then sat in the living room as I did my home work sat on his lap. This was the last day I ever saw him and I always remember this day as if it happened minutes ago.

I think it’s fair to say that your family struggled with Justin’s sexuality at the time. How do you feel about that?
I think like any family living constantly in the public eye, it is a struggle to live with people scrutinising your personal life as well as your professional one. Who cares what one does in their private life? Who really cares? What was Justin gifted at, football. So why care about his sexual preferences?

How would you like your uncle to be remembered?
I would love my uncle to be remembered for what he really was, a super talented and brave man who faced the world without fear. He is my Hero!

Do you think Justin can be an inspiration to other footballers who are considering coming out publicly?
I don't think he can be an inspiration, I know he is and will be to many out there who have the fear of saying who they are and not caring about the rest.

In February, Norwich City, Norwich Pride and The Justin Campaign came together to unveil Justin’s banner at Carrow Road in Norwich City’s Hall Of Fame. How proud were you to know that your uncle’s memory will live on forever at the home of his first club?
Even when I read this question I smiled because of how happy and proud this makes me. Maybe now people can recognise Justin for how much of an amazing footballer he was and not by the fact that he was homosexual or committed suicide.

Are you surprised that, prior to Swedish footballer Anton Hysen coming out only recently, no other professional footballers had come out publicly since Justin?
If I am honest surprised is not the word I would use to describe it. I would say I'm more disappointed. I find it sad that some one would have to oppress themselves and who they are from others just because they fear that people will judge.

How important do you think organisations like The Justin Campaign are in the fight against homophobia in football?
I think theses organisations play a key role. Apart from raising awareness it provides a community of support for those who may feel alone or misunderstood.

Your father John was also a highly successful, top-class footballer. Have you inherited the Fashanu football genes?
I would love to say yes, but unfortunately I don't think so. Although I must say I have scored many goals playing football with my family in the past.

You can find out more about Amal on her website -

Justin Fashanu Day

Today marks 13 years since Justin Fashanu was found dead hanging in a garage in south London.

The life of the UK's first and only openly gay footballer was turbulent to say the least.

An amazing talent on the pitch, his career was marred by a torrent of abuse and "banter" about him publicly accepting who he was.

To mark occasion and to remember him, The Justin Campaign has organised a series of events.

A tournament yesterday including the invitational Justin Fashanu Allstars reminded people that football is a game for all to enjoy. It included Aslie Pitter MBE, of Stonewall FC, who is also a patron of The Justin Campaign.

Today, we have also unveiled a new page on the website which will be a tribute to Justin.

As well as information about his career, it has tributes from top football writers such as Henry Winter, LMA's Frank Clark, Peter Tatchell and his niece Amal Fashanu.

As part of ongoing work around educating people about the subject, campaign volunteers will also be going to a speak to school children about the work we do in ridding homophobia from the beautiful game.

Justin's death was a tragic end to one of the most talented footballers of a generation.

While he and others helped raise awareness about the subject, homophobia in football is still a massive taboo.

Yes progress has been made but more needs to be done before other players feel comfortable in publicly accepting who they are.

This is why we will continue to remember Justin Fashanu.

Did you know Justin? How did his news of his death affect you? Please leave tributes and comments below.