International fans conference calls for urgent action on Russia22 August 2013

ThecontinuingsituationinRussiawherelawsrestricttherightsoftheLGBTcommunity,andtheimpacttheywillhaveoninternationalsportingevents,wasthesubjectofacallforurgentactionatthefirsteverinternationalfootballfansconferenceonhomophobialastweekend(17August).

Governments, human rights institutions and sports governing bodies were asked to take action to ensure the safety of LGBT competitors and supporters for both the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics and the FIFA 2018 World Cup.

Over 130 people from 29 countries came together in Manchester for the Football Fans v Homophobia conference which featured speakers from supporter groups, activists from the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community, NGO’s and European governing body UEFA.

Workshops on innovative campaigning techniques, LGBT football fan clubs, making football inclusive of transgender people and international campaigns were well attended. The sessions will be featured in a conference report which will include a manifesto for future campaigning activities.

The conference was organised by the Fare network and the UK- based Football v Homophobia (FvH) campaign.

Lou Englefield from FvH commented, “The LGBT community has a large contingent of football supporters whose views on homophobia and their place within sport will form part of our action plan going forward.

“From the perspective of LGBT communities the situation in Russia is a critical one. If sport really is a means of social solidarity international sporting bodies must use their lobbying power to make clear that abuse of the human rights of any community is incompatible with the values of sport.”