Forming part of Kick It Out’s ‘Call Full Time On Hate’ initiative for the 2016-17 season, which is urging the collective force of football to encourage inclusion and deter hate from the game, the resources have been launched on the same day (22 March) as the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) host a roundtable meeting on homophobia in sport.
A short film raising awareness of LGB&T inclusion in the game has been created in partnership with Village Films. The film follows five individuals from the LGB&T community as they reflect on the impact of HBT behaviour on their lives and the importance of reporting discrimination in football.
A comprehensive booklet and small pocket guide have also been designed to assist stewards and safety officers in their understanding of HBT discrimination and how to effectively challenge this behaviour.
Following the recent publication of the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee report on homophobia in sport, which stated that stewards and all staff at all levels must be supported when confronting and reporting homophobia, these new materials will equip matchday stewards and safety officers with the confidence to report HBT discrimination at football matches.
‘Tackling Homophobic, Biphobic and Transphobic Behaviour at Football Stadia’ is a 12-page booklet which has been produced with support from Just A Ball Game? and Inside Inclusion. The booklet includes information on what HBT discrimination is and the role stewards and safety officers can play in reporting and challenging this behaviour.
Ten key steps to tackling HBT discrimination have been included in the small pocket guide accompanying the booklet. 10,000 pocket guides have been produced and distributed to stewards and safety officers across Premier League and English Football League clubs.
Discrimination reports relating to sexual orientation made up 17% of reports to Kick It Out in 2015/16, a rise of 4% on the previous season.
Roisin Wood, Chief Executive Officer at Kick It Out, commented:
“With LGBT History Month recently taking place in the UK, it is important that Kick It Out continues to raise awareness of the issues which still blight our national game, including homophobia, biphobia and transphobia.
“These topics have long been taboos in the game, but thanks to the proactive work of campaigners we are beginning to see the football community recognise the positive impact LGB&T inclusion is having on the sport.
“With support from the Home Office and True Vision, Kick It Out has been able to produce three essential resources which will help stewards and others to understand and have confidence in effectively challenging homophobic, biphobic and transphobic discrimination within football stadia.
“Kick It Out also encourages all matchday participants, including players, club staff, stewards and supporters to download the organisation’s free reporting app, available on the App Store and Google Play.”
Sarah Newton, Minister for Vulnerability, Safeguarding and Countering Extremism said:
“Fans, players and staff of all sexualities, races and religions deserve to enjoy football without facing discrimination or abuse.
“Football has come a long way and is now more inclusive and welcoming to all fans but more work still needs to be done. This is why I fully support Kick It Out and the excellent work it is doing targeting discrimination and abuse against LGBT people at football matches.
“This Government is determined to do everything we can to stamp out hate crime, which has no place whatsoever in a Britain that works for everyone. Our hate crime action plan focuses on prevention, giving people the confidence to come forward and report it, and providing better support to victims.”
Tracey Crouch, Sports Minister, said: “Homophobic, biphobic and transphobic abuse is completely unacceptable and this partnership between Kick It Out and the government can help further tackle the issue in football. I urge stewards and all match-day staff to use these resources, so that all know exactly what is expected of them if an incident were to take place.
“Football stadiums are much more welcoming and family friendly than they were 30 years ago however we must not be complacent and it is important that we continue to educate and challenge any discriminatory behaviour. It is only right that LGB&T people get support across all sports and that they can participate in a safe and positive environment.”
Bill Bush, Premier League Executive Director, said:
“The Premier League is all about exciting, passionate and unpredictable football that is for everyone, everywhere.
“Clubs work hard to make their grounds safe and welcoming to fans and we fully support the use of these important new Kick It Out resources. They will complement the training stewards undertake to deal appropriately with unacceptable behaviour or abuse, and further highlight to the LGBT community that we see them as an integral part of our community.”
Shaun Harvey, Chief Executive of the EFL, said:
“We need to ensure that the game is unified in creating a safe and welcoming environment for all and the EFL is committed to providing a positive experience that stretches well beyond the 90 minutes of play.
“I am confident that these new resources will be of great value in helping our clubs to increase understanding and awareness of the need to challenge behaviour that is homophobic, biphobic and transphobic.”