Homophobia to be tackled at Euro 2008

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An LGBT rights organisation in Austria will display posters around Vienna tackling the subject of homophobia during the UEFA European Football Championship later this year.

Switzerland and Austria will co-host the tournament from June 7th to 29th. None of the UK home nations qualified.

QWIEN, which is based in Vienna, has announced a Europe-wide competition to design the posters.

50 designs will be displayed at a venue in the city during the tournament.

Vienna will host three home games, two quarter-finals, a semi-final and the final.

The posters will stay up until after Vienna’s Rainbow Parade on July 12th.

“According to statistics five percent of the total population is gay,” QWIEN said in a statement on their website.

“As a result therefore, of the 500 professional players in the Austrian football league, 25 should be gay professional kickers.

“However, there is not one gay professional player in Austria, not a single player who openly admits his homosexuality.

“Football is the last bastion, where the clichés about “real men” can be lived out, on the field as well in the fan sections.

“Bad play is termed “feminine”, and feminine behaviour is not welcome, is put down, segregated, and this form of behaviour leads to sexism and homophobia.

“Hesitant or poor players are referred to as “sissies” or “faggots” and the opponents berated as “fags”, with defensive play commonly ending up in “limp-wristed” passes.

“This kind of outright macho behaviour is common practice and not only in Austrian stadiums.

“Qwien Kultur will put a focus on city life, in that it is making a theme out of homophobia in football.

“By issuing a Europe-wide poster competition we are making an otherwise taboo topic public during the period of Euro 2008.”

All poster submissions must reach Qwien Kultur by the end of May.

A pre-selection jury will select the best 50, after which a jury of well-known experts will decide on the best three.

The best 50 posters will be exhibited in a public venue.

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