Thursday, 30 June 2011

Seaford Successfully "Tackles Homophobia"

A prime example of the grassroots side of The Justin Campaign's work was on show last Sunday in Seaford.

The “Tackle Homophobia” Day was organised by students from Seaford Head School in conjunction with the East Sussex County Council, The Justin Campaign and Brighton & Hove Albion FC, and took place at the Downs Leisure Centre, Seaford.

MP for Lewes, Norman Baker (above), and Councillor Colin Belsey from Eastbourne were present as local teams took part in a football tournament while other various activities took place.

Seaford F, junior tournament winners, receive the junior tournament trophy from County Councillor Colin Belsey (second right) and Maddie Jay, Young Mayor of Seaford (third left), with some of the event organisers. Photo: Alan Quick

Justin Campaign patron, Aslie Pitter MBE, turned out for the Justin Fashanu All-Stars in the senior tournament on a day that saw the local community, and in particular the young people of Seaford, work together to send out a clear message that homophobia in football is simply not acceptable.

To see more photos from the great day, go to

For more information, contact

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Super Eagles' Wings Clipped By Homophobia As FIFA Watch From The Sidelines

Nigeria and France kicked off the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup on Sunday with the Europeans managing a 1-0 win over the Super Eagles. The tournament in Germany provides some of the greatest female footballers the chance to show off their skills to a global audience and hopefully, help to promote the women’s game which has all too often been ignored and treated with disdain by the mainstream media.

However, while the women’s game continues to battle sexism, statements from Nigeria’s manager, Eucharia Uche, have highlighted the dangerous homophobia which still pervades the game.

Uche previously stated that “homosexuality is a dirty thing, spiritually and morally it is very, very wrong”, while she has also mounted a campaign of ridding her squad of players thought to be gay by enlisting the services of priests to pray for her players.

It has also been reported that lesbian members of Uche’s team were dropped ahead of the 2011 Finals in Germany. Yet, so far, FIFA’s response has been extremely tepid, with a promise to “talk to her (Uche)” the sum total of their actions.

This appallingly poor response from the football world’s governing body highlights how far down on their list of priorities homophobia seems to be. If the manager of a team competing in the 2011 Finals had spoken of the problem of black players in their team, FIFA would no doubt (and obviously rightly so) have acted with the kind of authority and decisiveness necessary. However, the rights of the LGBT community continue to be viewed as less important.

Until the likes of FIFA finally start to deal with the issue of homophobia within the game (and arguably within its own corridors of power), football will continue to be riddled with this vile and needless bigotry.

Thursday, 23 June 2011

A Busy Weekend In The Fight Against Prejudice In Football!

What a busy weekend we have ahead of us!

On Saturday, June 25th, the University of Sussex is holding a five-a-side tournament in aid of The Justin Campaign. The competition, which has been organised by the Students’ Union, takes place at the Falmer Sports Complex with registration scheduled for 10:30am.

A number of local LGBTQ organisations will be present to show their support while there will also be a BBQ on site along with a table football table to keep everyone fed and entertained.

Then, on Sunday, June 26th, Seaford plays host to a “Tackle Homophobia” tournament from 1pm to 3pm. Organised by students from Seaford Head School in conjunction with the East Sussex County Council, The Justin Campaign and Brighton & Hove Albion FC, the competition will take place at the Downs Leisure Centre, Seaford.

The students secured grant money to host the tournament and will be joined on the day by MP for Lewes, Norman Baker, and Councillor Colin Belsey from Eastbourne.

As well as a tournament for the young people, there will also be an adult competition involving teams from The Justin Campaign, Police, Fire Service, and Seaford Head Community College staff.

A number of professional football clubs have also featured the tournament on their website. See Torquay United’s preview here.

For more information on these fabulous events, contact

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Don't forget Women's World Cup

The following is a blogpost from Lindsay Eanet, a Justin Campaign officer based in Liverpool and massive fan of both men's and women's football.

Hey you! Yes, you! Did you know there’s a whole other World Cup that starts a week from Sunday?

Yes, the FIFA Women’s World Cup starts on June 26!

It’s a thing that is happening, and you should watch it because, like its male counterpart, it will be full of highly skilled, impassioned play that reminds you all about what ‘The Beautiful Game’ should be about.

Maybe it’s just in the US and the UK, but the lack of international media and fan attention that seems to be surrounding the Women’s World Cup (minus the Playboy spread in which members of the German national team participated) is disappointing, although thoroughly unsurprising.

Maybe it’s just bad timing, with men’s league play just ending, Euro qualifiers on the horizon and Olympic hype overwhelming all sports coverage whether we like it or not.

Or maybe it’s the systemic inequity of women’s sports, the fact that fewer resources and advertising revenue will inevitably go to the competition than the male counterpart.

Usually, when women’s football makes the headlines at all, the focus, sadly, is more on scandal and salaciousness than success and statistics.

My fellow American football fans probably remember Brandi Chastain triumphantly ripping her shirt off after her winning goal in the 1999 Women’s World Cup more than the goal or the victory themselves.

As women’s football came to the forefront during the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, all eyes were on German stars Inka Grings and Linda Bresonik for their love triangle with male coach Holger Fachs as opposed to their skills on the field.

But three years have passed and progress, although small, has been made —
on the FIFA Women’s World Cup official website, Grings is being touted as one of the stars of this year’s competition and the driving force behind the home country’s squad.

And she has the stats to back it up: Grings has won the Golden Boot in the Bundesliga six times and has been named German Female Footballer of the Year three times.

Much like Mia Hamm, Sissi and Hanna Ljungberg did briefly in the years following the tournament’s inception, hopefully Grings and her contemporaries, like Brazil’s Marta and England’s Kelly Smith, can turn the focus away from the ugliness of scandal and hypersexualization and towards the beauty and magic of the game we know and love itself.

England’s first match takes place on June 27 against Mexico at 6pm CET in Wolfsburg.

For those of us who lack the luxury of digital cable, BBC Sport Online will be streaming the matches. Or, host a watch party!

Watch parties are fun, and so is supporting England’s awesome female athletes.

Monday, 13 June 2011

French pro footballers lead the way

Fantastic news.

For the first time ever professional football players have publicly taken part in a video against homophobia in football.

But this was not in the UK, but in France, where there have been a number of high profile incidents of homophobia.

Past and present internationals joined club stalwarts and team presidents in the video which must be seen as a milestone by all in the game.

In the words of campaign group Paris Foot Gay: "This video is the proof that opinions are really changing for the better when it comes to homophobia.

"Since the foundation of Paris Foot Gay we have noticed the strong impact that these attitudes and declarations have brought to young players and supporters.

"We give thanks to League One clubs the Girondins of Bordeaux, the Montpellier Hérault sport club and Paris Saint-Germain for their support.

"It’s thanks to them that this video clip had been realised."

There have been a number of high profile incidents of homophobia around football in France in recent years.

For instance, earlier this year an abusive banner was unfurled at an Olympique Marseille game.

This is not forgetting in 2009 when Louis Nicollin, the president of Montpellier FC labelled Auxerre footballer Benoit Pedretti a "little queer" on television.

It says so much about the efforts of Paris Foot Gay that the volcanic Nicollin was persuaded to appear in this video.

The video was produced also with a petition launched by the French Football Professional League on May 8.

So far only the Evian Thonon Gaillard Football Club has signed it.

But organisers are hopeful the clubs whose players appear in the video, namely Olympique Lyonnais and Stade Rennais, will follow the same path.

The players who appeared (in order) are:
Frédéric Thiriez (Président of the Professional Football League), Nicolas Douchez (Rennes), Sonny Anderson (former Lyon player), Dimitri Szarzewski (rugby player, Stade Français), Marc Planus (Bordeaux), Matthieu Chalmé (Bordeaux), Miralem Pjanic (Lyon), Romain Danzé (Rennes), Ludovic Giuly (Paris) and Louis Nicollin (President of Montpellier).

To see the video visit here.

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Wanted - football players in Brighton and Hove

Calling all football players in the south east of the United Kingdom. Please find below a press release from Ford Motor Company and Pride in Brighton & Hove.

Ford Motor Company and Pride in Brighton & Hove are pleased to announce that the annual Ford Pride Football Tournament is back!

Following last year's success, the LGBT community football tournament will kick-off a fantastic week of festivities and celebrations culminating in the world famous Pride in Brighton & Hove Parade, and you could be right at the heart of it all.

We are now recruiting men's and women's five-a-side teams to participate in the Ford Pride in Brighton & Hove Football Tournament for the LGBT community, to take place on Saturday 6th August at the Brighton Rugby Football Club.

Last year's competition saw very high standards of play, some spectacular goals and the cup being lifted by Stonewall Lions. Through Ford's sponsorship of the UEFA Champions League, the Stonewall Lions team were also lucky winners of tickets for the whole team to a UK based UEFA Champions League match of their choice and Ford is delighted to be able to offer the same opportunity to the 2011 champions.

What's more, the winning team will also be invited to join Ford in the Pride in Brighton & Hove Parade which takes place on Saturday 13th August.

All participating clubs are welcome to enter as many teams as you would like and there is no entry fee. We want this year's competition to be bigger and better than last so feel free to send this e-mail on to all of your friends that might be interested in entering a team. Ford will even provide players with breakfast and a BBQ buffet to keep you energised throughout the day. Spectators are also, of course, very welcome.

Brighton Rugby Football Club has excellent links to the A23 and the centre of town, there is plenty of parking for those of you who wish to drive and there are also changing facilities and showers for participating teams' use. The tournament is scheduled to commence from 10am. If you are travelling by train Ford will run free minibus transfers from Brighton station to the club.

If you wish to make a weekend of it and enjoy the atmosphere of the start of the festivities throughout the town, please see for a guide to what's on and recommended hotels.

To register your interest to participate in this unique opportunity please complete the attached form and email to Please note tournament numbers are restricted so please respond no later than Friday 8th July 2011. An information pack will be sent out nearer to the event upon your confirmation.

If you have any questions in the meantime, please contact Claire Le Boutillier at or on 0207 323 3300 at any stage.

We hope you are able to make it and look forward to hearing from you soon!

Mixed messages from the Queen

Mixed messages in the Queen's birthday honours list today.

First of all congratulations to John Amaechi.

The former NBA player, who was raised in Greater Manchester, has been one of the most vocal critics of homophobia in sport.

He came out shortly after his retirement - one of the first professional sportsmen to do so - and, while it was welcomed by some, looked down on by others, his actions inspired thousands to stand tall.

The fact he has now been awarded an OBE is testament to his personality and the work he has done for disadvantaged youngsters on both sides of the Atlantic.

And he is a terrific guy too.

On hearing the news, Amaechi said: ""I was once an overweight bookworm who hid in the corner of my school library and wished I was invisible.

"My mother told me that I could do better and I hope to use this platform to convince other young people just how true this can be for them too."

But then there is a little more worrying news about bus entrepreneur Brian Souter receiving a knighthood.

No one is doubting the business credentials of the man who started off as a bus conductor and now heads up Stagecoach, one of the largest transport firms in the country.

However, this same man also was the leader of the Keep the Clause campaign, fighting the lifting of Section 28 which banned teachers and pupils from discussing homosexuality in schools.

To date, he has shown no regret for so actively fighting a ruling which not only was prejudiced but outright bigoted.

If progress is to made in tackling homophobia then schools must be the first place where a positive message is made, not the last.

The Queen's honours list are there to honour a wide section of society. But what sort of message is being put across if a man advocating such a ruling.

It certainly puts a dent in the image of the monarchy after the jubilant scenes a little more than a month ago at the Royal Wedding.

Thank goodness for every Brian Souter there is a John Amaechi.