By Hayley Paterson, Press Officer for the Justin Campaign
I saw something in the news this week which made me despair at a time when as fans of football we should be excited.
Anxiously waiting for Euro 2012 to kick-off in just a couple of weeks time, ITV.com’s news site has reported that gay England football fans travelling to joint-host country Ukraine for the tournament, have been told to keep a low profile for their own safety.
The warning has come after Kiev’s first ever gay pride event was cancelled because of concerns that homophobic attacks would take place.
Even more worringly, the news piece shows Svyatoslav Sheremet, head of the Gay Forum of Ukraine, being brutally beaten by thugs - and that was AFTER the pride parade was cancelled.
Amnesty International said that it was police who advised organisers of the threat of violence from football hooligans - a sport which should be at the forefront of celebrating all minorities coming together to cheer on their clubs.
Sadly not though.
Now, gay England fans going to eastern Europe next month SHOULD fear for their safety it seems.
Amnesty campaign Max Tucker has said not only will football fans have to put up with violent hooligans targeting gay people and those from ethnic minorities, they will also face “an extremely corrupt police force”.
Football can sometimes be very dark. Violence should never be at the forefront of anything, let alone regarding football, or any sport for that matter, and even more so it should never be used as a tool to attack minorities.
It’s still quite abundantly clear that educating people about tackling homophobia in football is going to be no easy task... but that's not going to stop us!
To see the full story via ITV.com, visit: http://www.itv.com/news/2012-05-22/gay-football-fans-warned-about-ukraine-euro-2012-travel-after-activist-beaten/.
And don't forget to please join us in our campaign to tackle homophobia in football. Follow The Justin Campaign on Twitter @JustinCampaign.