Recently-out Swedish football player Anton HysÃ©n
Britain’s biggest sports have backed a new government campaign to stamp out homophobia and transphobia.
The Football Association, the Lawn Tennis Association, the England and Wales Cricket Board, the Rugby Football League and the Rugby Football Union joined the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) in becoming the first signatories of the Charter for Action, which aims to make sport a welcoming environment for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people.
“We’ve seen real progress over the last 20 years when it comes to tackling racism and that’s something football should be proud of. We remain committed to our long-term goal of removing all forms of discrimination, such as homophobia, out of the game,” said Alex Horne, General Secretary of the Football Association.
It’s not just governing bodies that are welcome to sign up to the Charter; it is also open to leagues, teams, and individual participants and spectators.
“Sport should be about what you can do, not who you are. But too many lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people feel that the sports field is not somewhere they can be themselves, and that prejudice and discrimination will mean their sexuality is always talked about more than their ability with a ball, bat or racket,” said Equalities Minister Lynne Featherstone.
“Homophobia and transphobia has no place in sport and I’m delighted that so many sporting bodies are backing our campaign to stamp it out at all levels, from local parks to Olympic stadiums.”
Professional sport around the world remains a largely homophobic field with few openly gay sportsmen. Recent exceptions include Welsh rugby hero Gareth Thomas, Australian Olympic diving champion Matthew Mitcham, British cricketer Steve Davies and recently-out Swedish football player Anton HysÃ©n.