University cancels anti-homophobia charity football tournament over ‘transphobia’ claim

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PinkNews Exclusive
The University of Nottingham has cancelled a charity tournament intended to raise money to fight homophobia – after complaints the event discriminated against trans people.

The University had been set to hold a ‘Football v Homophobia’ event in partnership with the FA – but a PinkNews reader spoke out after finding that rules required trans people to first provide medical records and blood test results.

Luke Hutchinson had told PinkNews he was baffled by the stringent requirements for the amateur charity event – with his doctor informing him that the cost of providing such evidence would be around £70. The entry fee for the tournament is £7.

The university previously insisted the rules were the FA’s and “based on physical safety and fairness of competition” – but rather than make changes it has now pulled the plug on the event entirely.

A statement said: “The University of Nottingham has hosted the Football v Homophobia Tournament since 2010 and has been proud to support this campaign.

“This tournament has been in partnership with Football v Homophobia and follows official FA rules and sanctions.

“However, the tournament has recently faced allegations of discrimination regarding FA rules on trans participation in football.

“To address these concerns, we would like to reiterate thaat no player has been barred from entering the tournament at any point, we welcome all players to the tournament [and] the FA policy covers football tournaments such as this.

“Due to the fact that we feel the recent negative publicity has done substantial damage to the tournament and the positive message it promotes, The University of Nottingham has decided to cancel this year’s tournament.

“All teams already booked on the event will be informed of this decision.”

Trans group UK Trans Info told PinkNews in a statement: “We are disappointed that the University of Nottingham decided to cancel this event rather than finding a way to extend those values of diversity and inclusion to all trans and non-binary people.

“We are also very concerned that the negative way the University chose to respond to allegations of discrimination will discourage other genuine allegations being made in future.

“It may also cause some people to blame trans and non-binary people for the cancellation of the tournament, which goes against the University’s legal duty to foster good relations between trans and cis people.”

“UK Trans Info has already been in contact with both The FA and the organisers of Football v Homophobia, and will continue trying to convince them to adopt a more inclusive policy.

“We hope that the University of Nottingham will learn from the mistakes made this year and run a fully inclusive Football v Homophobia Tournament next year.”