The Dutch FA have been congratulated by campaigners for launching an action plan to tackle homophobia and to celebrate the involvement of the LGBT community in football.
On 11 October EGLSF and EPAS hosted United Against Homophobia in Sports conference in Utrecht, Netherlands. Conference speakers included the Dutch Minister for Health and Sport, and the Deputy Minister of Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities of Albania.
The President of the KNVB (the Dutch FA) Michael van Praag presented an action plan for tackling homophobia in football under the title “Football for all” .
The plan featured a 30-second spot called 'Gay? It doesn't matter' depicting a football team with one of its players literally in a wooden closet. He warms up, plays, and even showers in his self-imposed box. “Why aren't you coming out of the closet? Your team is ready for you” the caption at the end of the ad reads.
In a statement, van Praag said, “We appeal to all clubs and players in the Netherlands. The FA cannot unilaterally change the climate. Everyone – from directors to players to fans – must be aware of their own responsibility. Working for gay acceptance means we must correct each other where necessary. Because let's face it: gay or straight, it really does not matter.”
The conference featured workshops bringing stakeholders together to discuss the safety of LGBT athletes, the attitudes of supporters in stadiums, the possibilities “same-sex” couples have to participate together in certain sporting disciplines, and the integration of transgender athletes in recreational and competitive sport.
The overall aim was to take stock of the situation regarding homophobia and transphobia in sport, and to look at the impact of activities being run by the various parties, particularly on young people.
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