Homophobic abuse fails to disrupt gay football final

Manchester United may be celebrating their win on penalties at last night’s Champion’s League Final, but another team from the city also went home with silverwear earlier this month.

The Gay Football Supporters’ Network (GFSN) National League Cup final ended in victory for Village Manchester FC over Leicester Widecats, in what was described as another nail-biting game.

The final was staged in Mansfield on Sunday 11th May.

Village Manchester scored late goals to seal a 3-2 victory and win the Cup for the first time.

The Wildecats took an early 2-0 but Manchester rallied with two late goals, the equaliser coming in the dying minutes and the winner with virtually the last kick of the game.

Homophobic abuse was shouted by some local people who had gained entrance to the ground.

Taunts were directed at players, management and supporters of both clubs – although with help from ground-staff the perpetrators were soon asked to leave the ground.

“Such attitudes are the very reason why sport can be a barrier for LGBT people and why the GFSN and its members will continue its hugely successful campaign to rid homophobia from the terraces, working with professional football clubs and The Football Association,” said GFSN campaigns manager Chris Basiurski.

“It is important to us that professional clubs and bodies recognise that if homophobia can be eradicated at the top levels, this will filter down towards grass-roots level.

“Despite the abuse, both clubs continued the match in great spirits and credit goes to both teams for taking part in such an entertaining match and providing the best possible response to those who attempted to detract from the occasion.”

Gay Football Supporters’ Network (GFSN) national league is the world’s only gay and gay friendly national league.

One of the league’s clubs, Leftfooters FC, is hosting the International Gay Lesbian Football Association World Championship in London between 24th and 30th August 2008.

Teams from all over the world will take part in the event, to be held in Regents Park, with the finals to be played at Leyton Orient’s Matchroom Stadium.

The organisers behind London 2008 believe that football should be enjoyable for all, free from discrimination on the grounds of sexuality and accessible to people of all backgrounds and all sporting abilities.

Leftfooters FC have been working with the Football Association for the past two years. 31 teams from around the world have signed up for the tournament so far.

The FA will provide technical support for the tournament, and will help to recruit match officials and volunteers for the biggest gay sporting event ever hosted in the UK.

For more information on the Gay Lesbian Football Association World Championship click here.

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