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Thursday, November 09, 2017

KICK IT OUT RECEIVE ANNUAL JUST A BALL GAME? AWARD - MEDIA RELEASE.



KICK IT OUT RECEIVE ANNUAL JUST A BALL GAME? AWARD.




On Thursday 9th November 2017 here at JUST A BALL GAME? (JBG?) we celebrated our 7th birthday.
This year as in previous years, we looked at the good practise's shown by individuals and organisations who have partnered with us during the past 12 months helping to raise awareness around LGBT+ inclusion and visibility while also challenging homophobic, biphobic and transphobic (HBT) behaviour and bullying, and allocated our annual award.
We are pleased to announce that the 2017 JUST A BALL GAME? Challenging HBT Bullying Award goes to KICK IT OUT.

                                
Kick It Out is football’s equality and inclusion organisation.  A small independent charity, the ‘Let’s Kick Racism Out of Football’ campaign was established in 1993 in response to widespread calls from clubs, players and fans to tackle racist attitudes existing within the game. Kick It Out was then established as a body in 1997 as it widened out its objectives to cover all aspects of inequality and exclusion.
Earlier this year JBG? partnered with KICK IT OUT on a Home Office ‘LGBT Hate Crime in Football’ funded project to produce resources to educate match day staff and stewards on the issues of HBT behavior often heard in stadia within  the professional game.



CEO of Kick It Out Roisin Wood had this to say on receiving the award, “We are absolutely honored, on behalf of Kick It Out I want to say a big thank you, it’s been great working with you this year as we have for a number of years. We hope that some of the resources we have been doing and the support of the type of work you have been doing continues on.”

Thursday, November 02, 2017

Media Release: Former Wales and Everton legend on board as patron of LGBT+ organisations.











Former Wales and Everton legend on board as patron of LGBT+ organisations.

We are happy to announce that former Wales and Everton legend Neville Southall MBE has joined us as a Patron of JUST A BALL GAME? (JBG?) and Bradford City LGBT+ fan group.
The former goalkeeper, who had a short spell at Bradford City alongside 92 caps for Wales and a record 578 appearances for the 'Toffees'  has for some time been an advocate for Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Trans + inclusion through his social media platforms. Mr Southall agreed to take on the straight ally ambassador role to help take an important stand for an LGBT+ community by joining the campaign against homophobic, biphobic and transphobic (HBT) bullying in football and other sports.


Neville Southall is to champion the cause of both Bradford City LGBT+ fan group and JBG? stating: “I think it’s important that the football community and the LGBT+ community talk more, and maybe I can help?”
“I think it’s only a matter of time that a footballer will come out,” he says. “With the work of charities like Just A Ball Game?  we hope to make it a better environment to help that happen.” Tweeting in October 2017 Southall posted: “If your gay, straight trans or anything else you should be able to be what u want
(not live a lie) without discrimination or prejudice.”
The messages that JBG? send out are very much a big YES to equality, inclusion and diversity and NO to 'HBT' abuse or bullying.
Founder of JBG?  Lindsay England welcomes the involvement of the ex professional as, "A fantastic addition to the LGBT+ and straight alliance for both our JBG? educational campaign work, and raising the profile of the LGBT fan group at Bradford City."


End.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Vote for JUST A BALL GAME? in The Aviva Community Fund






The Aviva Community Fund

The Aviva Community Fund offers the chance to get funding for an important cause in your community.
It’s open to everyone – the general public as well as Aviva customers, employees, insurance brokers or financial advisers (whether associated with Aviva or not). Vote for a project for your community and help make a difference, see the change these much-needed funds could make.

 With projects across the country entering the Aviva Community Fund hoping for funding, there’s bound to be one near you.
And you can help a local project get to the Finals by voting for them!
You have to register to vote, but you get 10 votes to use how you want. You can give all your votes to one project or spread them around amongst up to 10 projects. The choice is yours!
So what are you waiting for, start voting!

Vote link:  https://www.avivacommunityfund.co.uk/voting/project/view/17-2094





Who you are voting for:

JUST A BALL GAME? aims to encourage and promote football, sport and healthy leisure activities among lesbians, gay men, bisexuals and transgendered people (hereafter referred to as LGBT) regardless of race, religion, sex, age, physical ability, or disability.
To help build a LGBT football community, linking individuals, organisations, clubs, and associations engaged in football/sport, ensuring an effective communication.
To raise awareness about equality and diversity, combat discrimination and homophobia in football/sport, and working closely with other initiatives and organisations working on sexual orientation grounds.
To promote LGBT engagement in sport and leisure activities through participation and/or volunteering in football/ sport.
To promote LGBT representation in mainstream football/sport and encourage LGBT involvement in the wider sporting community from elite to grass roots.
In pursuit of these aims Just a Ball Game? will promote equal opportunities and encourage gender parity.


To have Funding will enable us too:

Through the delivery of interactive workshop sessions on LGBT+ inclusion to local groups our primary objective is to raise awareness of HBT bullying and its long-term, damaging effects on peoples’ physical and mental health. We consider the elimination of HBT bullying from sports along with schools and society in general as central to our mission.

We will provide resources and training to raise awareness of these issues and offer solutions to by sharing best practice. Helping people in a group setting develop a deeper understanding of equality and an appreciation of how their individual actions impact on other people around them will relieve some of the unnecessary tension and confusion that exists around sexuality and gender.

The increased understanding around LGBT+ issues will mean members of the community feel safer.
Through these workshops Just A Ball Game? Will create a culture where EVERYONE is able to ENJOY participating in sport.

Why our work is needed:

Whilst a lot of progress has been made for LGBT+ rights in recent years many feel vulnerable and marginalised following Brexit and the views of some high profile politicians across the world which has seemingly normalised attacks on the LGBT+ community.

It is well documented that in the three months that followed Brexit Hate Crime towards LGBT people rose by 147%.Moreover, in a recent BBC report 47% of all sports fans say they had herd HBT abuse at games/matches and a Com Res survey of 4000 sports fans 71% said clubs should do more to educate fans about HBT abuse/bullying.
Stonewall’s recently published Schools Report worryingly indicates that almost half of all LGBT pupils still face bullying at school for being LGBT, and more than two in five trans young people have tried to take their own life.
This displays the evidence base for the delivery of our project.


Tuesday, October 10, 2017

BRADFORD CITY LGBT+ FAN GROUP JOIN EUROPE WIDE ORGANISATION






MEDIA RELEASE : BRADFORD CITY LGBT+ FAN GROUP JOIN EUROPE WIDE ORGANISATION

This week Bradford City LGBT+ fan group celebrated its second anniversary and became the first UK LGBT+ fan group to be inducted into the Queer Football Fan club (QFF) network at their annual conference in Dortmund, Germany.


Over 80 people attended representing fan groups from Germany, Netherlands, Switzerland and England.

QFF are an umbrella organisation representing LGBT+ fan groups from across Europe with the key aim being to aid inclusion in football and tackle homophobia, biphobia and transphobia where it exists in the game.

Lindsay England (Just A Ball Game?) and Bradford Councillor Richard Dunbar as founding members of the Bradford City LGBT+ fan group presented to the conference about the work that has been done over the past 2 years and how they intend to work more closely with Bradford City to ensure LGBT+ fans are truly apart of the Bantams family.


Lindsay England said:

“Bradford City LGBT+ fan group are very honoured to become the first UK fan club to be inducted into the QFF. We look forward to working in partnership with other fan groups across Europe to ensure LGBT+ fans are included in all aspects of the game”

Councillor Richard Dunbar said:

“This is great news for Bradford and is recognition of the good work that has gone on to make LGBT+ fans feel truly included at Valley Parade. Representatives from across Europe are impressed by Bradford City’s work on being a truly inclusive club and we look forward to working more closely on them on this agenda”


If you are interesting in being involved in the Bradford City LGBT+ fan group you can email bradfordcitylgbtfans@gmail.com for more information.

You can also follow the group on Twitter: @BfdCityLGBT



Wednesday, October 04, 2017

CAMPAIGN ORGANISATION AND FAN GROUP CALL ON FIFA TO TAKE ACTION.











CAMPAIGN ORGANISATION AND FAN GROUP CALL ON FIFA TO TAKE ACTION.   

Campaign organisation JUST A BALL GAME? (JBG?) and BRADFORD CITY LGBT+ Fan Group call on FIFA to take firm and further action on the homophobic, biphobic and transphobic insults directed at players during international football matches. 

For the past two years FIFA have made it common knowledge that the very public chanting of homophobic biphobic and transphobic (HBT) abuse in the stadiums whenever Mexico play has been unacceptable, with warnings and fines handed out. What has not been made public until now are the reports of 15 other international teams fans (13 of whom are South American) who have on a number occasions seen fit to chant HBT abuse at games. Mexico have now been fined and warned by FIFA 11 times, Chile 9 and Argentina 5 times.

The report made public by FIFA on 2nd Oct 2017 can be found here: http://resources.fifa.com/mm/document/tournament/competition/02/91/01/10/fifa_disciplinaryoverview_2018fwcqualifiers_2october2017_neutral.pdf  with the message “Following the latest meeting of the Disciplinary Committee, FIFA can today confirm the sanctions imposed for incidents that occurred during the latest round of the preliminary competition for the FIFA World Cup.”


Moving forward JBG? and Bradford City LGBT+ fan group would like assurances anyone participating in or involved in football in any way will be given the protection and support necessary should similar incidents occur. 




One of the founders of Bradford City LGBT+ fan group Richard Dunbar, who later this week will present at the Queer Football Fans conference in Dortmund Germany says, “As the football world’s governing body FIFA has a moral obligation to ensure that all fans feel included, and know that, should they be victims of any kind of abuse a zero tolerance and appropriate action will be taken. All the facts prove that members of an LGBT+ community are more likely to be victims of abuse and discrimination therefore it is incumbent upon FIFA to ensure they proactively engage with campaigns like JBG? and LGBT+ fan groups 
globally to ensure their needs are met and they feel included in all aspects of the game.”

A JBG?  spokesperson said, “We would like to see FIFA work in collaboration with organisations like ourselves and also LGBT+ fan groups to educate and train stadium event day staff in dealing with HBT discrimination promptly. We have already created resources for Kick It Out and the Home Office which have been in use in the English leagues by clubs and have been very well received by all. These publications and accompanying workshops alongside educating supporters on what is acceptable language could be adapted and used by all FIFA member countries FA’s as a great starting point on taking a much needed zero tolerance.”

“ JBG? also call for coordinated official  LGBT+ event days to raise awareness of LGBT+ inclusion and visibility.”

End.


Contact for further information:
Founder-Lindsay England

Friday, July 14, 2017

GB DEAF FOOTBALL WOMEN are new JBG? partners.



           GB DEAF FOOTBALL WOMEN are new JBG? partners.

Here at JUST A BALL GAME? (JBG?) we are very pleased to announce our latest partner to back our campaign work, Great Britain Deaf Football Women.



 
The direct visibility aspect of this promotion will send out a very clear and inspirational message of encouragement to other football teams, that they too can engage in a similar way to tackle the unacceptable problem of homophobia in the game.



Founder of JBG? Lindsay England said:“With the Deaf Olympics 2017 and UEFA Women's Euro’s about to get underway, and interest in the women’s game at an all-time high we feel it’s a good time to highlight having the GB Deaf Football women's team on board and give girls and women of all abiliities and communities who want to play football and opportunity to see what they could achieve.”

 

GB captain Claire Stancliffe says,"There is no place at all for prejudice of any kind in football.” And continued,“That is why the work of JUST A BALL GAME? who are making a real difference is so important and why they need our support.”




GB Women will face Poland in the opening group game 18th July 10:00, then Brazil 20th and Russia 22nd July.
See our partners on the JBG? website: 
Latest JBG? partnerships: http://www.justaballgame.co.uk/partners/partner-clubs


For more on GB Deaf Football squad: http://britishdeaffootball.com/gb-women/gb-women-squad-2/
For more on all the GB Deaf  sports teams: https://www.facebook.com/DeaflympicsGB/
For more on Deaflympics: http://deaflympics2017.org/en/home-page




Saturday, April 29, 2017

Guest Blog from our Patron ADAM McCABE







The Atlanta United FC experience; An LGBTQ fans’ perspective

By: Adam McCabe

It felt like Christmas morning for thousands of other soccer fans in Atlanta. Sunday, March 5, 2017, was the dawn of a new sports era in our city. For years, a void existed here for professional soccer, and this multicultural hub of diversity longed for the day when the beautiful game would return. Now, after waiting so patiently, the people of Atlanta have a team they can call their own.

On game day, the city was spewing with excitement - everywhere you looked, there were scenes of fanfare, of red and black flags, and an optimistic spirit was tangible in the city. My partner and I took MARTA to the game. As we walked up the steps of the Five Points MARTA Station, hundreds of people raced by us with flags, scarves, and jerseys, uniting the city for a night.  There was a brief pause as we waited in line to exit, and in a moment my partner looked at me and stunned me with a single question: “When are we going to bring a Pride flag to an Atlanta United game?”

At first, I didn’t have an answer for him. I’m proud to be out, to be open and honest with whom I am. But I had never thought of myself as an individual who would bring a pride flag to a sporting event. “Let’s see how this one goes,” I replied. I had no idea what type of response a Pride flag would get at a soccer match in the South.

The game started out as I thought it would, with two nervous teams – Atlanta United and New York Red Bulls - testing out the waters in their season opener.  Midway through the first half, Red Bulls goalkeeper Luis Robles took a goal kick in front of the Atlanta United supporters’ section. As he went to clear the ball, a single moment changed my experience at the game. A huge wave of fans shouted from the crowd – “¡puto!” - a homophobic, offensive phrase, in an attempt to distract Robles and put him off his kick.



The game continued, with no interruption, as if nothing had happened - yet something major had just occurred. A few minutes later, another goal kick for Luis Robles, and again the huge shout – “¡puto!” - but this time, a bit louder. When the obscene word was heard again, my partner tapped me on the shoulder and asked: “What are they saying?”

I nonchalantly explained to him what the definition of “¡puto!” meant, its origin, and why our fans were saying it to the opposing goalkeeper. The look on my partner’s face turned from inquisitive, to sour and disappointed. “Really?” he replied. ‘That’s common at soccer games?” And in that moment, I had no answer, because there wasn’t a good one.

Every time Luis Robles took a goal kick, I caught my partner looking at me from the corner of his eye. He would hesitantly turn around to gaze at the mix of individuals, drunkenly shouting the obscenity just two rows behind us. This was not the experience I was hoping for. I wanted so badly for him to enjoy the game I grew up with and loved.

After the match, we spoke about our experience and whether Atlanta United games were something we could share together in the future. Looking back, I wished it could have been without the homophobic language, (and that Atlanta United had won) but I chose to appreciate our time together.  As we talked, I stated, “I’m not sure our fans would be ready for a Pride flag”. He looked at me, and chuckled before replying: “Yeah, probably not.”

The day after Atlanta’s inaugural home match, I heard countless analysts applaud the play of Atlanta United. However, what surprised me was the amount of negative press Atlanta United was receiving after just one match. Our supporters’ actions and behavior had caught the attention of international coverage, from the likes of ESPN, Yahoo and Deadspin.  The obscenities and homophobic language by the Atlanta United fans was criticized galore. I hated to think that people worldwide were misunderstanding and judging our fans and our amazing city. 

As expected, Atlanta United was quick to make a statement, condemning the language and behaviors of such fans. As a new MLS franchise, the fans of Atlanta United have a new opportunity to reshape the soccer fan culture of our city. Why not take this with open arms, at the highest level of professional soccer in the United States, to show our country who the people of Atlanta truly are?

After our dominant 6-1 win away to Minnesota United, I was eagerly anticipating the next match at home to Chicago Fire. I hoped Atlanta United could maintain their good early form and start to create a dominant presence on their home turf. On another note, I contemplated how our fans might react to the negative publicity from the first home game and if anything would change.

I read comments on Dirty South Soccer from writers and readers who thought silencing the obscene language from the inaugural match would be almost impossible. With 55,000 fans at a soccer game, being able to control and influence every single individual was unrealistic. Instead, we needed to focus on how to inspire and encourage the majority of fans to exclude this language. The one idea that caught my eye was a ‘Hey Ya!’ chant (a throw back to Outkast). Done successfully, the majority of fans could drown out any offensive language.


My partner and I were excited to attend the next game together.  As the first notable goal kick came to Chicago, I remember looking my partner dead in the eyes. We had both been waiting for this moment since the game began; waiting to see how our fans would react and respond to the negative coverage of our behavior. As Jorge Bava lined up for Chicago Fire to take the goal kick, I looked towards the supporters’ section. A low rumbling “Hey…” filled the section, being led by Terminus Legion. The man next to me, who was at the game with his young boy, joined Terminus Legion, adding his “Hey…” to the thousands of others in the stadium. As Bava kicked the ball, the stadium – including the man next to me - erupted with a powerful “Ya!”. I looked back at my partner, as the goal kick flew out of bounds, and gave him a big smile.

The second home game was a much better overall experience. The fact that our fans and community had positively responded to the hateful behavior shown in the first match, made the victory that much sweeter. As a community, we had come together to stand up in the face of homophobia in our sport and home. As my partner and I descended down the 5 Points MARTA escalators, we chatted about the game. I said, “Maybe we actually CAN bring a Pride flag to a game sometime soon.” That brought a big smile to his face.

After the reaction by our fans, community, and organization, I am still optimistic that not only will we have a successful team, but that we will also have a community and organization that is all-inclusive. I am hopeful that, after the dramatic shift from the first home game to the second, our fans can prevail in eliminating homophobic language from our identity and culture.

It has been almost a month since our last home game, and I am hopeful that the Atlanta United fans will revert to the appropriate behavior in our next home game (April 30th). Consistency is key when continuing to fight homophobia and hate. I applaud our growth in such a short period, but we need to remain consistence, to remain progressing and moving forward.



I challenge Atlanta United fans reading this article to evaluate their actions at games, and how they could be negatively impacting and affecting the experience of others at a game. Remember that this is the best sport in the world because it is the people’s game - it belongs to every individual, no matter their sexuality, religion, political beliefs, or gender. I urge Atlanta United fans to think back to the father that sat by us during the Chicago Fire game with his son, and ultimately chose to display the appropriate, matured and disciplined example for his son. He chose not to pass along hate and negativity to a younger generation. This is the way we must begin to rid this language from the beautiful game.