With racist chanting having already been heard at the Euro 2012 Championships in Poland and Ukraine, it would appear that bigotry is still a problem which needs to be tackled in the world of football.
The fact that there are no openly gay footballers playing the sport professionally in the UK, suggests that this bigotry is not confined to race.
In order to tackle homophobia in the beautiful game, The Justin Campaign has been set up in the name of the former Nottingham Forest player and world’s first openly gay footballer Justin Fashanu.
The organisation now spearheads attempts to challenge the stereotypes and misconceptions that exist around LGBT&Q (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Questioning) people and work towards a future where the visibility of said people in football is both accepted and celebrated.
To support their work, staff at The University of Nottingham have organised the third annual Justin Campaign Nottingham Football Tournament, preceded by a free discussion event entitled Homophobia in Sport: Exploring the Challenge.
Taking place at Jubilee Campus from 10am-2pm on Friday 6 July, the discussion event will explore the challenges of combating homophobia in sport, the work already taking place to do so and the importance of this work during a year which features the London Olympics and Euro 2012.
The football tournament will then take place from 12pm-4pm on Saturday 7 July at The University of Nottingham Sports Centre on University Park. Open to teams from across the UK, the event will be opened by Professor Wyn Morgan, Director of Teaching and Learning at the University and closed by special guest Frank Clark, Chairman of Nottingham Forest FC.
The beautiful game
Max Biddulph, chair of the University’s LGBT&Q Staff Network said: “We are working with the Director of Events at the Justin Campaign and it means a great deal to us to be able to host this tournament again and to have the support of our workplace, The University of Nottingham.
“The Justin Campaign Tournament is a fun event aimed to promote acceptance and tolerance. By attending and joining in, participants can enjoy sport that is inclusive of everyone.”
He continued: “Unfortunately, homophobia in sport still exists, and this is demonstrated through homophobic chanting at matches and the fact that no professional player feels comfortable being ‘out’ in the game. However, initiatives such as the Justin Campaign work together with the FA to create a safe, welcoming space for LGBT&Q players and fans, and have made significant strides to reducing homophobia in the beautiful game.”
To book your place at the talk, please email email@example.com. To enter a team in the male or female football tournaments taking place on the following day, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
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Notes to editors: The University of Nottingham, described by The Sunday Times University Guide 2011 as ‘the embodiment of the modern international university’, has 42,000 students at award-winning campuses in the United Kingdom, China and Malaysia. It is also the most popular university in the UK by 2012 application numbers, and ‘the world’s greenest university’. It is ranked in the UK's Top 10 and the World's Top 75 universities by the Shanghai Jiao Tong (SJTU) and the QS World University Rankings.
More than 90 per cent of research at The University of Nottingham is of international quality, according to the most recent Research Assessment Exercise. The University aims to be recognised around the world for its signature contributions, especially in global food security, energy & sustainability, and health. The University won a Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education in 2011, for its research into global food security.
Impact: The Nottingham Campaign, its biggest ever fund-raising campaign, will deliver the University’s vision to change lives, tackle global issues and shape the future. More news…
Homophobia in Sport: Exploring the Challenge: This event will take place from 10am-2pm on Friday 6 July 2012 in Lecture Theatre 1, Exchange Building, Jubilee Campus.
Speakers will include: Kelly Simmons, Head of the National Game at the FA; Louise Englefield, Founding Director of Pride Sports and Dr Scott Lawley, Senior Lecturer at Nottingham Trent University. This event is open to everyone and is free entry. Places can be booked by emailing email@example.com