Following the Football Associations recent announcement that 3 footballers have been charged by the Football Association over alleged homophobic comments on twitter, Reading Pride has announced that it will be holding a major football tournament for LGBT players and supporters at this year’s Reading Pride Festival which will take place on 8th September 2012.
The tournament has the backing of the Gay Football Supporters Network and will be one of the first such examples at a UK Pride Event.
The issue of homophobia in sport, and football in particular, is one the Reading Pride Charity has worked on with a number of organisations locally and nationally in recent years to highlight and tackle. The subject has been discussed recently nationally following a recent BBC 3 documentary entitled ‘Britain’s Gay Footballers” where Amal Fashanu, niece of Justin Fashanu, attempted to discover why there are no openly gay professional footballers.
The Tournament has been organised by Robert Otterwell who told us that ” The recent documentary is a very timely reminder that despite the progress seen in recent years in many areas of LGBT rights, there remain parts of our society which are effective no-go zones for openly gay people, with sport being a prime example; we hope that by incorporating a football tournament as a key part of Reading Pride 2012 we can show that sport is played and enjoyed by the gay community as much as by everyone else, and begin to break down barriers and stereotypes in this area. ”
The Football Association has been asked by the Government to come up with an action plan to tackle a variety of race and homophobia-related issues within two months of the recent summit to discuss the issue that took place at Downing Street. Reading Pride supports this announcement and the FA’s decision to charge footballers Federico Macheda, Nile Ranger and Manny Smith.
Reading Pride Trustee and LGBT Campaigner, Jamie Wake, said that ‘The government’s recent summit and the Football Association’s charges against 3 footballers demonstrate that whilst progress to stop LGBT discrimination is slow, it is still progress that is being made. If we can tackle the issue of homophobia in football, together we can achieve much more than trying to tackle discrimination through political channels.’
The Reading Pride Football tournament and details of this year’s Circus themed Reading Pride Parade and Festival will be launched at Reading Pride’s launch weekend which will take place over the weekend of 16/17/18th March at all 3 LGBT Venues in Reading including the Wynford Arms, The G (Formally Granby) and The Rising Sun. Further details can be found at www.readingpride.co.uk.