Rainbows and applause when Exeter City took stand against homophobia for 11th year Exeter City Football Club said “no to homophobia” at its home game with Crawley Town on Saturday, February 29.
The match was designated as the Club’s annual “Football v Homophobia” fixture and a number of initiatives were organised by the Exeter City Supporters’ Trust, its One Game One Community (OGOC) Group and Exeter City Community Trust.
It is 11 years ago since the international initiative was founded and the 11th time that a designated Football v Homophobia (FvH) match has been held by Exeter City.
Three years ago, Lou Englefield, Director of the national Football v Homophobia campaign, presented the Exeter OGOC Group with a commemorative pennant, acknowledging the Club’s annual support and for its year-round work to make sure football is welcoming for all.
On February 29 Exeter and Crawley Town players and match officials warmed up in FvH t-shirts. These were then thrown to the crowd before the start of the game. Rainbow corner flags were used during the match.
Prior to the game volunteers gave out FvH flyers and Kick it Out report it app details.
The volunteers, from Exeter City FC's One Game One Community (Kick it Out) Group, along with members of Proud Grecians, Exeter City FC's LGBT+ and allies supporters group, Isca Apollo, the LGBT+ inclusive football team, Exeter Pride volunteers and individuals from the community, also took part in a group photo with a giant FvH flag.
A bucket collection was undertaken by the volunteers in aid of Exeter City's One Game One Community (OGOC) Group.
An Exeter City FC Museum exhibition which features a display about the late Justin Fashanu, the first male English professional footballer to come out as gay while playing, was also launched. Justin played in a match for Torquay United at Exeter's St James Park.
At half-time, members of the Isca Apollo Football Club, carried the FvH flag around the pitch and received applause from both sets of supporters, from Exeter City fans in the Big Bank and Crawley Town in the away end.
The Isca Apollo team was inducted as an Exeter City FC community-supported team at half-time at Exeter City FC's dedicated Football v Homophobia match on Saturday, February 16, 2019.
Simon Kitchen, chairman, ECFC OGOC Group, said: “The FvH match was another great example of Exeter City FC working hard to ensure our game welcomes everyone.
“We’re grateful for all the fantastic support from the players and club officials and also to everyone who was able to support the bucket collection for our One Game One Community work”.
Devon FA Inclusion Advisory Group member Alan Quick, a member of the Exeter Supporters Trust and its OGOC Group, co-founder of Exeter Pride and local co-ordinator for Football v Homophobia. said: “Homophobia like all discrimination, has no place in football. It's time to call full-time on hate.
“Exeter City has a great record on opposing homophobia and three years ago the Club was recognised with an award for its long-term commitment by Lou Englefield, Director of the national Football v Homophobia campaign, who presented the OGOC Group with a commemorative pennant.
"The OGOC group and the Club have a proud record of making sure football is welcoming for all.
“It was poignant that rainbows appeared prior to and during the match and many people took photos of them which was great for all the LGBT supporters at the game.”
Exeter City’s One Game One Community Group works with the national Kick it Out campaign to address all types of discrimination in football including race, disability, gender, age and sexual orientation.
Alan added: "Homophobia and prejudice and discrimination against LGBT people in football is unacceptable and I am really pleased that Exeter City is committed to creating safe and inclusive football environments for everyone, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.
"Prejudice and discrimination in football affects us all, not just LGBT people.
"My late friend, Justin Fashanu, the first ever out gay male professional footballer suffered from racism and bullying and hostility after his sexual orientation became public, but so too have heterosexual footballers such as Graeme Le Saux and Sol Campbell.
"LGBT people are everywhere. Sons, daughters, mums, dads, aunties and uncles could be LGBT. LGBT people are in all walks of life. They are receptionists, doctors, bus drivers, physios, and yes, even footballers.
“If you witness any anti-social behaviour during a game, like anti-gay chanting and hateful or prejudiced language, speak to a nearby steward, the police, a club official, or contact the FA by telephone 0800 085 0508 or email: footballforall@TheFA.com
"Remember, doing nothing only allows discrimination to get worse!" Alan added.
You can also report, via email at email@example.com , the Kick It Out mobile app, which is free to download, or telephone Kick it Out on 0800 169 9414. Alternatively report incidents via Facebook/KickitOutOfficial or Twitter @KickitOut
Above: Volunteers promoting FootballvHomophobia at this year’s dedicated Exeter City FC game.
Above: Members of the Cann family from Crediton and the Exeter City mascots helped give out FvH flyers ahead of the game.
Above: Members of the Isca Apollo football team displayed the FvH banner during half-time at the Exeter City v Crawley Town match.
Above: A rainbow over St James Park during the FvH dedicated game between Exeter City and Crawley Town.
Above: Rainbow corner flags were used for the FvH dedicated game between Exeter City and Crawley Town at St James Park.