More than 30 representatives from gay and lesbian football clubs, LGBT sports and football organizations, supporters’ groups and football alliances from countries all over Europe met in Berlin from 22nd to 23rd May at the 2nd Football against homophobia conference.
The participants presented their various work and initiatives in the struggle against homophobia and for the recognition of LGBT presence in all areas of football and set out to plan future activities on a pan-European level.
EGLSF activist Tanja Walther-Ahrens who was responsible for the organization regards the meeting as a further step forward:
It is especially important to get together shareholders from various areas of football. Clubs, players, football associations, supporters’ groups and LGBT organizations inside and outside football alike have to join forces against homophobia.
The discussions and reports at the Berlin meeting raised a number of issues like the importance of ensuring cooperation with clubs and football associations which in many cases means to first raise awareness that the problem of homophobia exists.
From the reports of different countries we see that there is still a marked lack of sensitivity for the issue, Tanja Walther-Ahrens says.
We are especially concerned about the situation in Eastern Europe where we see anti-homosexual politics even on a governmental level. Here we are facing huge challenges in the future which have to be met both by football bodies and by civil society in general.
In order to heighten the visibility of gays and lesbians in football and raise the topic of homophobia there are a number of on-going activities organized by the groups and initiatives in Europe – from a strengthened network both on national and international level, football tournaments past and planned and educational measures to stadium actions against homophobia. A new section on the EGLSF website on the topic of football & homophobia and with information on the different groups active all across Europe is to be launched later this year. The 2nd conference “Football against homophobia” was held at the Olympiastadion in Berlin, home of Hertha BSC.
It is part of the program Football for Equality. Challenging racism and homophobia across Europe, supported by the European Commission (DG Justice) under the Fundamental Rights and Citizenship Programme and carried out by the EGLSF, the FARE network and various other partners. For further information please contact Tanja Walther-Ahrens: [email protected]