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.

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