The European Gay & Lesbian Sport Federation and the Football Against Racism in Europe network are to hold a meeting for queer football fans groups, clubs and organisations in Berlin.
The meeting is part of FAREs Football for Equality programme and will see LGBT initiatives from across the continent gather to discuss the issues facing gay and lesbian football fans and players.
Tanja Walther-Ahrens from EGLSF said:
In order to tap the full potential of football, all forms of discrimination need to be counteracted. While racism is frequently on the agenda, discrimination and abuse based on sexual orientation, homophobia, and sexism are mostly neglected.
EGLSF hopes that with this weekend in Berlin, the first steps could be taken to create a number of suggestions and examples on what should be done to arrive at a situation in which players, fans, and all others involved in football no longer experience any discrimination based on their sexual orientation.
Power and influence
The power and influence of football need to be mobilized to create public awareness of issues such as homosexuality, gender, homophobia, and sexism.
Discrimination happens first and foremost by ignoring homosexuality. In the entire world of sport, clubs and associations with few exceptions choose to ignore homophobia and discrimination of gays and lesbians on all levels, for the simple reason that homosexuals supposedly do not exist in sport.
But they do exist as queer football fan clubs, LGBT sports organizations and other initiatives demonstrate getting together from all over Europe in Berlin. The meeting will hopefully bring ideas and views so that in the end commitment and support in different countries will be collected by EGLSF and FARE to have more impact than regional or national activities.
The meeting will be held from 22-23 May at the office of German Bundesliga club Hertha BSC Berlin.
The action is partly funded by the European Commission (DG Justice) under the Fundamental Rights and Citizenship Programme.