Exeter City Football Club makes stand against homophobia in football

PUBLISHED: 20:11 22 February 2012

Exeter City vs Bury Lge One

Exeter City vs Bury Lge One

© All images copyrighted by the owner, Keith Stone

EXETER City Football Club joined the rest of football in marking the international ‘Football v Homophobia’ campaign at its home game with Bury on Saturday, February 18.

The Club’s One Game One Community group, in partnership with The Justin Campaign, was highlighting and challenging the on-going prejudice still experienced by gay players and fans.

The initiative was supported by the Devon Lions, the county’s local gay friendly football team, who, along with players from gay team, Birmingham Blaze, gave out leaflets to the crowd. The Lions played the Blaze the following day in the national gay football league.

‘Football v Homophobia’ was set up by The Justin Campaign, which was formed after the death of Justin Fashanu who to-date is the only English professional footballer to “come out” as gay. He tragically committed suicide in 1998 having suffered not only racism but also bullying and hostility after his sexual orientation became public.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of Justin Fashanu playing at St James’ Park for Torquay against Exeter in an Autoglass trophy match.

The Justin Campaign aim is to tackle homophobia and prejudice against lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) people. The ‘Football v Homophobia’ initiative focused on a week of action between February 18 and 26, to make football safe and welcoming for everyone.

Exeter City FC have made clear their commitment to all forms of equality and diversity and their One Game One Community ambassador, striker John O’Flynn underlined this by coaching a Devon Lions training session along with fellow first team player Richard Duffy.

O’Flynn, said: “Football should be about bringing people together whatever their backgrounds.

Let’s help make Exeter City a true community club welcoming to all be they young or old, black or white, male or female, gay or straight, disabled or able-bodied, with faith or without. As the saying goes - united we stand; divided we fall.”

The Devon Lions and Birmingham Blaze enjoyed watching Exeter beat Bury 3-2 and the result of their own game the following day was a 1-1 draw.

Alan Quick, South West Coordinator for The Justin Campaign, thanked all those involved in helping to highlight the issue and all those who had helped on the day.

For more information about Football v Homophobia visit the website: www.footballvhomophobia.com and about The Justin Campaign see www.thejustincampaign.com

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