Football v Homophobia toolkit backed by West Ham and England manager

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The Football v Homophobia campaign has sent a toolkit to clubs guiding them in how to combat homophobia and reach out to LGBT fans and players, in a move backed by the England manager and West Ham team.

The toolkit gives background on homophobia and transphobia in football, citing that 24% of gay men avoided football because of perceived homophobia, and 75% of trans people felt the sport was transphobic.

It urges clubs to challenge homophobic and transphobic language, and to reach out to local LGBT teams.

England manager Roy Hodgson said: “I’d never want to see someone excluded from playing or watching the game because they’re fearful of what might be said to them and that’s why it’s important that we’re all supportive of Football v Homophobia.”

West Ham showed their support for the campaign as a team, donning Football v Homophobia t-shirts during the warm-up for their match against Reading on Saturday.

Kevin Nolan, the West Ham captain, said: “It’s important that we, as a club and as a squad, support the Football v Homophobia campaign. We’re role models and we’ve got to ensure that we respect all members of society and show that we’re open minded.

“If someone told me, or any of the lads, that they were gay, it wouldn’t change our view of them one iota and that’s the only way it can be, so it’s a vital message to push.”

The campaign is held annually during February with support from both the English FA and UEFA.

It was set up by the Justin Campaign, which is named after Justin Fashanu, the only professional footballer in the UK to have come out as gay while an active player.

The campaign follows after Robbie Rogers, winger for Leeds United and the US national team, came out as gay after retiring.

In a comment piece published today, Adrian Tippetts argues that the FA should do more on the issue.

In January West Ham player Matt Jarvis said gay footballers should come out, that they would be supported, and that they might even play better if they did.