Sunday, 22 July 2012

Cassano fined 15,000 Euros after homosexual comments

Italian and AC Milan striker Antonio Cassano has been fined by Uefa for homophobic comments during Euro 2012.

The footballing body for Europe waited until nearly three weeks after the tournament in the Ukraine and Poland before issuing the 15,000 Euro fine.
This was after Cassano responded to questions about reports in Italy which claimed there were two homosexual players in Cesare Prandelli's 23-man Euro 2012 squad.

Cassano reportedly said. "If I say what I think...I hope there are none. But if there are queers here, that's their business."

However this was not enough to appease Uefa.

A Uefa statement said: "Following the opening of disciplinary proceedings against Italy's Antonio Cassano for a discriminatory press statement during Euro 2012, the UEFA Control and Disciplinary Body has decided to impose a fine of 15,000 euros on the player.

"An appeal can be lodged against this decision within three days of the dispatch of the full, written decision."

A Justin Campaign spokesman said: "We welcome this high-profile action from Uefa as a step in the right direction.

"Antonio Cassano's comments were wrong, particularly given his high-profile and the media attention that was on him at the time. Sadly the fine is hardly going to hit Cassano in the pocket but the fact footballing bodies are showing it is not welcome, is a positive sign."

Doncaster Rovers support Pride

Doncaster Rovers will again be supporting its town’s annual Pride celebration this year.

The football club will be making its own stand against homophobia in football when its home ground the Keepmoat Stadium will be the venue for hosting Doncaster’s sixth Pride festival.

It will be the second successive year the League One club has staged the event which celebrates the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community and attractions thousands of people each year.

Doncaster’s Pride committee spokesman Jen Dewsnap hopes other football teams will follow Rovers’ example.

She said: “We approached them and they received us as they would anyone wanting to use the stadium. There was no hesitation on their part at all. They have been enormously supportive and extremely professional.

“The entire team at the Keepmoat Stadium accommodate our every whim and our planning is made so much easier because of this, I guess that's their professionalism, but every member of the team is so supportive of Pride.

“The venue is a prestigious place for us and being linked to the Keepmoat Stadium helps enormously.

“Being gay really shouldn't be a big deal and hosting a Pride at the stadium proves Doncaster really is showing the rest of the country that that's what they believe.

“Let's use Doncaster as an example. Let's tackle the awful issue of homophobia and football, let’s make a statement and hope others follow.”

Gavin Baldwin, chief executive of Doncaster Rovers, added: “We work closely with our local community and its diverse members, this sees us working with a wide range of organisations and we see our growing partnership with Doncaster Gay Pride is a huge success.

“This is a relationship that we are sure will thrive, one that we are proud of, with an organisation that we fully support.

“Each year the Gay Pride event attracts thousands of people and we are pleased that this partnership means that the annual event is now hosted at the Keepmoat Stadium. We will continue to work closely with this organisation to help them to achieve their aims and make their event the best it can be.”

Premier League side Liverpool, a supporter of The Justin Campaign, have also backed its city’s Pride event in August and its men’s and women’s teams will be taking part in the parade.

Doncaster’s Pride will be held on August 5. For more details, visit

Monday, 16 July 2012

Justin Campaign at Brighton and Hove People's Day

Volunteers from the Justin Campaign were among hundreds of people to attend this weekend's People's Day in Brighton and Hove.

The day, which aims to showcase the splendid variety of Brighton and Hove’s community, proved a great opportunity for the campaign to raise awareness its work and meet some great people from other community groups.

We recruited some new volunteers, and also got to challenge people to a game of table football. That was just part of a successful and fun day out.

Our stall also had examples of the education work the Campaign has been involved in along with photos of tournaments and education projects. It was really gratifying that so many people came over to chat and offer their support for the campaign.

 People’s Day was all about embracing difference and along with the Sudanese, Chinese, Gambian, police officers, singers, artists and cakemakers who shared the hall with us we learned a lot about how diversity makes you stronger.

And we got to play table football, with Bill Randall, the city's Mayor. Final score? Well, let’s just say it’s not the winning but the taking part, and People’s Day was all about everyone taking part.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Justin Campaign leads World Pride's sporting challenge to homophobia

The Justin Campaign led the way in campaigning for equality in football at World Pride in London.

A group of our volunteers joined a number of national sports for the international event to show their commitment to inclusion in sport and their support for LGBT equality.

Photo credit: Jeff Knezovich
All the associations invited grassroots LGBT sports group or club to represent them at the event. 
The Justin Campaign was honoured when the Football Association asked it if it would represent the beautiful game by raising awareness of our Football v Homophobia initiative.

Together with sports fans and players representing tennis, volleyball, netball, cricket, athletics, rugby league, softball the crowd paraded through London with chants including "2-4-6-8, are your players really straight?".

 Rebecca Sandles, of the Justin Campaign, said: "We were greeted by smiles and cheers along the route. It was a great day out and we bought Football v Homophobia to the heart of West End, marching down Regent Street and on to Trafalgar Square and Whitehall."
Photo credit: Jeff Knezovich
It came a few days before Liverpool Football Club announced it would support the city's annual Pride parade.

With staff, fans and players from its women's team walking behind banners provided by the club, the team will become the first Premier League club to be officially represented at a UK LGBT Pride event.

Ian Ayre, managing director at Liverpool Football Club, said: “Here at LFC, we continue to demonstrate our commitment to ensuring that equality and principles of inclusion are embedded into all areas of Liverpool Football Club and for many years, we have taken positive steps to promote our stance against homophobia both on and off the pitch.”

Both events are further sign that the football world is slowly realising that there is no future for inequality in football. Let's hope we can all build on these events and make sure our beloved game becomes a sport for all and something we can all be proud of.

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

USA football player comes out before London 2012 Olympics

 An international football player has come out just weeks before the start of the London 2012 Olympics.

Megan Rapinoe is a key part of the USA soccer (football to the rest of the world) team which is expected to challenge for the gold medal at the games, which start later this month.

The 26-year-old midfielder, who plays for the Seattle Sounders, has now told national US media that, "for the record", she is gay.

It comes as in the male side of the sport there are still huge barriers between players and fans accepting people for being LGBT.

Rapinoe told Out magazine: "I feel like sports in general are still homophobic, in the sense that not a lot of people are out.

She added: “In female sports, if you’re gay, most likely your team knows it pretty quickly. It’s very open and widely supported. For males, it’s not that way at all. It’s sad.”

According to reports she has been dating her girlfriend, an Australian soccer player, for three years.

Rapinoe added she has never tried to hide the fact she was gay but had never been asked.

However, she did say that sport needed role models is the LGBT "stigma" was to be broken.

Talking about the issue further with USA Today, she said: "That stigma is only going to be broken when people come out and see that there is a positive response.

"That doesn't mean there will be no negative response, but if people can have the courage to be one of the first, which is very hard, those barriers can be broken down very quickly."

A Justin Campaign spokesman said: "With the Olympics nearly upon us and the world's eye casting towards London, this is great news for the sport of football.

"Megan Rapinoe already has a huge following in the United States but her actions will only serve as an inspiration to tens of thousands of people across the globe.

"We hope that Rapinoe's actions will give a boost to other players and fans in the United States and abroad to see that it does not matter what your sexuality is, football is game for everyone."