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Wednesday, April 06, 2016

GAY RUGBY LEAGUE PLAYER -REECE ROBERTSON, JUST A BALL GAME?’s NEW PATRON.

                                    JUST A BALL GAME? - MEDIA RELEASE.   


  





GAY RUGBY LEAGUE PLAYER -REECE ROBERTSON, JUST A BALL GAME?’s NEW PATRON.


Here at JUST A BALL GAME? (JBG?)  we are excited to announce our first patron from the world of Rugby League in former Keighley Cougars junior-Reece Robertson.
As an 18 year-old playing Rugby League and working in a brewery pub while studying at University, Reece Robertson is your average young man, who just happens to identify as Gay! 


A couple of years back Reece wrote an article for an LGBT news page, he then took the brave decision and came out to his team mates not once but twice, the result, mostly positive. Reece says, “I thought to myself, I have come out to the rest of the world, why should I hide who I am from my team mates?” “They didn’t care, I had played alongside most of these boys since I was 7 years old, I was still the same Reece.”
A year later Robertson was playing for a re-formed Keighley Albion open age side, he left the field of play on a high as man of the match, back in the changing rooms an ex-junior team mate mentioned his sexuality, Reece’s heart began to race. One of the older players laughed then commented, “He’s played awesome, he’s an Albion boy, who cares about his sexuality.”




On becoming a Patron for JUST A BALL GAME? Reece had this to say,” I am gratified at being asked to become a Patron of JBG? who are starting to work towards eradicating homophobia from football and other sports, and I very much wanted to support their campaigns. It’s good to raise awareness on LGBT issues and great to get community people together.”




End.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Manchester United FC u17 Centre of Excellence player Emily Ramsey signs as youngest ever Patron of JUST A BALL GAME?



Manchester United FC u17 Centre of Excellence player Emily Ramsey signs as youngest ever Patron of JUST A BALL GAME?
For a number of years now Just A Ball Game? (JBG?) have been proud to build on an LGBT/ straight alliance and we are very excited to announce our youngest ever Patron and straight ally in Emily Ramsey.
 At 15 years old Emily plays Goalkeeper for Manchester United u17 Centre of Excellence team and is also a current England u16 squad member after making her debut against Germany in November 2015 at St. George’s Park. Playing the game is not the only talent the young Lioness has, Emily also qualified in 2015 as a referee.

                                                                
Emily had this to say about joining JBG? campaign organisation, "I am proud to have been asked to become a young patron of Just A Ball Game? Hopefully, other young athletes will be able to relate to my journey, and see that role models don't have to be famous - anyone can be one if they work hard and follow their dream.
I'm looking forward to working with JBG? to help promote equality in sport across all ages and abilities."
A spokes person for JBG? says,” It’s our hope that Emily will be seen by young people as someone to look up to and aspire to in all she achieves, and that as an organisation we will support her career wherever that may take her.”











Contact for further information:
Founder-Lindsay England info@justaballgame.co.uk

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

SOPHIE COOK JOINS AS FIRST TRANS PATRON

                     JUST A BALL GAME? MEDIA RELEASE- For immediate release


 

SOPHIE COOK JOINS AS FIRST TRANS PATRON.

Everyone at Just A Ball Game? (JBG?) is excited to announce that we have a new Patron on board in Sophie Cook.
Sophie will be our first Trans Patron and she will mould right in to JBG? with a wealth of experience as both a rock photographer for band The Libertines and Premier League photographer at AFC Bournemouth. Along side of this, Sophie now regulary attends LGBT events across the country as a motivational speaker touching on subjects such as overcoming fear in life and business, diversity and inclusion, LGBT issues and sports.

In the past Sohie has served in the RAF, been a motorbike racer, and also a newspaper editor. And it was that RAF grounding that's been a support network during Sophie's coming out story: “In the RAF we were a very close knit team, we knew that we could rely on the other team members, even now 30 years later we are a team and I received nothing but support from them when I came out as transgender. “

Sophie had this to say about joinging JBG? campaign organisation: “ Becoming a Patron of Just A Ball Game? is so important as it's a great way for me to show my support for the outstanding work that they are doing to increase diversity and inclusion within sports. LGBT people should never feel excluded from watching or participating in the sports that they love.”
For more information on Sophie Cook please see her website: http://www.sophiecook.me.uk/

Contact for further information:info@justaballgame.co.uk

Friday, February 19, 2016

FC United of Manchester Men's and Women's teams, join JUST A BALL GAME? as partner clubs.







FC United of Manchester Men's and Women's teams, join JUST A BALL GAME? as partner clubs.

Great news that both the men's and women's teams from FC United of Manchester have simultaneously signed up as one of our partner clubs over the last few days.


In a show of support for JBG? as a campaign organisation and also the fact that February is LGBT History Month, the club had installed our banners in the stadium and 3G training pitch (where the women play) and during recent games the players warmed up wearing out JBG? t-shirts.
Added to this an article was produced in the match day programme and announcements made over the tannoy system before the game and again during half time to inform supporters of the partnership. Many of our resources and information flyers we handed out at the games, and the social club on hosted our TIME FOR ACTION educational exhibition over the weekend.



All this was done by the club and we at JBG? could not have asked for any more.
Founder of JBG? Lindsay England had this to say:
"Its great to see a young progressive club which is fan based reaching out to a local community, the people I have engaged with are very dedicated and busy on match days to help make things go as smoothly as possible and you are a credit to the football family.
I wish you well in your fortunes on the pitch for both men's and women's teams future success and look forward to partnering with you all again."




Follow us on TWITTER: @justaballgame 

Find out more about the work JBG? do here:http://www.justaballgame.co.uk/
See our partner clubs here: http://www.justaballgame.co.uk/partners/partner-clubs

Photos from the event days with FCUM can be seen on our FACEBOOK page:https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.1055196944516197.1073741828.247338768635356&type=3

Bedfordshire FA sign as partner organisation.



 Bedfordshire FA sign as partner organisation.

We are very happy to announce that one of the latest organisations to join JUST A BALL GAME? as a partner is, Bedfordshire FA.

Here is what Beds FA had to say, for more info please contact: Beds FA Inclusion and Safeguarding officer Sarah DaCosta sarah.dacosta@bedfordshirefa.com

1st February marked the beginning of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) History Month which will see a string of events, initiatives and projects launched across the United Kingdom.

The overall aim of LGBT History month is to promote equality and diversity for the benefit of the public. The month honours the lives and achievements of the LGBT community whilst seeking to promote the welfare of LGBT people and raise awareness of important issues involving the community.

Just A Ball Game? Workshop
To celebrate LGBT History Month at Beds FA, on Wednesday February 10th, Lindsay England from Just A Ball Game? deliverd a workshop to staff and volunteers to raise awareness of inclusion and LGBT equal opportunities in football from grassroots to elite. Everybody was made welcome to attend the workshop which was free and lasted around  1 ½ hours.





Lindsay England is the founder of Just A Ball Game?, a  campaign group which helps both grass roots and professional sports groups, organisations , authorities, along with governments, education establishments and trade unions build on their existing work. The aim is to deliver the core values of 'SiR' SAFETY-INCLUSION-RESPECT around LGBT people, sexual orientation and gender identity. Further information can be found at their website here: www.justaballgame.co.uk

Lindsay is a member of the new Beds FA IAG (Inclusion Advisory Group) and we are really excited to be working with Lindsay and all the members of the IAG who bring a wealth of diverse knowledge and experience to the group.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Letter reply from DCMS:

Letter reply from DCMS:


Ministerial Support Team
4th Floor
100 Parliament Street
London SW1A 2BQ
T: 020 7211 6000
enquiries@culture.gov.uk


Ms Lindsay England
20 January 2016
Dear Ms England,Thank you for your letter of 23 August to the
Minister of Sport, Tracey Crouch MP regarding your concern about Team GB representing a women’s football team for the Rio Olympics in 2016

I am replying as a member of the Ministerial Support Team.
Firstly, I would like to apologise for the unacceptable delay in replying to you. The Department regards replying to correspondence in a timely, courteous and accurate manner as a very high priority and I very much regret that in this instance we have fallen far short
.
Historically, we have not competed as TeamGB at the Olympics because it has not been possible to get all four of the Home Nations Football Associations (FA) to agree to compete together in the Olympics when they compete separately in all other aspects of
international football. The Home Nations have been concerned that in competing together at the Olympics, they would set a precedent where FIFA could then require them to compete together across international football.For London 2012, a one off arrangement was put in place, whereby all four Home Nations FAs agreed to compete as TeamGB, given we were hosting the Games. This was a one off agreement, in order to protect the ‘normal’ position, wherethe Home Nations competed separately in all other events.
 However, there is nothing to technically
prevent a similar arrangement being reached, provided that sufficient assurances could be sought to protect the understandable concern of the Home Nations that they might be prevented from competing separately in non-Olympic events.Although the English FA had originally indicated to the British Olympic Association that it would be willing to consider the participation of a GB team in both the men’s and women’s competition at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, after further discussions with the Home Nation Football Associations and FIFA, the FA Board decided not to pursue this further.As such, UEFA, FIFA and the International Olympic Committee were formally notified that a GB team would not seek to qualify/participate for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.Department for Culture, Media & Sport However, there is a possibility of FIFA considering a late entry providing the Home Nations were all in agreement.
We know from previous attempts that trying to get this sort of agreement is very challenging, particularly if there is only a short amount of time to
secure their collective approval. It is the responsibility of the English FA to seek agreement with the other Home Nation bodies. FIFA does not look favourably on Government interference in sport. Additionally, our standing within FIFA is such that a request for a late entry may not be looked on favourably. This suggests that getting an agreement for Rio 2016 will be very unlikely indeed.At the same time itis important that we respect the wishes of the home nations in this matter. They are rightly proud of their history and the independent statuses they enjoy in world football.
If it is not possible, to get agreement for a unified GB football team at Rio,
we will press for an agreement to be put in place that would allow the team to compete in the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.Unfortunately,Government Ministers do not sign petitions so I'm afraid the Minister for Sport, Tracey Crouch MP will not be able to support your request on this occasion.I hope this information is helpful to you
.
Yours sincerely,
Syed Ali
Ministerial Support Team

Friday, January 08, 2016

MEDIA RELEASE-GENERAL SECRETARY OF THE TRADES UNION CONGRESS (TUC) FRANCES O’GRADY BECOMES A PATRON OF JUST A BALL GAME?




                                    
  





    GENERAL SECRETARY OF THE TRADES UNION CONGRESS  (TUC)   FRANCES O’GRADY BECOMES A PATRON OF JUST A BALL GAME?


 



Anti-discrimination campaign organisation JUST A BALL GAME? are extremely honoured and  privileged in announcing  the General Secretary of the TUC, Frances O’Grady, is to become  one of our Patrons.
Frances, a North London resident and a long term Arsenal supporter, as an experienced campaigner and a leader, will be a fantastic addition to the organisation with her high profile and commitment to supporting an LGBT community, helping to raise awareness on LGBT inclusion and visibility as a straight ally.

Frances O’Grady, General Secretary of the TUC, said:

“I’m proud to become a patron of ‘Just A Ball Game?’. There should be no room for hate and homophobia in what is the beautiful game. The TUC is committed to stamping out prejudice against LGBT people in football, at work and in society. Together, we’ve made a lot of progress but there’s still a long way to go before everyone is treated with the dignity and respect we all have the right to expect.”

Bradford Councillor and Labour Party member Richard Dunbar says:

 “I am proud to be involved with Just A Ball Game? and working to ensure that homophobia and discrimination is challenged in football grounds, schools and other settings across the country. To have Frances O’Grady as Just A Ball Game?’s new patron is a great endorsement of the work done by the organisation. The struggles of the Trade Union movement and LGBT communities are similar and so we will be unrelenting in challenging homophobia and other discrimination through education and therefore ensure equality and acceptance  win the day.”









Monday, November 16, 2015

Just a Ball Game? 5th Birthday Award to Bradford Brewery



        
                      Just a Ball Game? 5th birthday Award to                                                                                                               Bradford Brewery

A week ago on 9th November Just A Ball Game? (JBG?) celebrated their 5th Birthday. As in previous years the annual Tackling Homophobia in Football Award was presented by JBG? and this year (2015) it was given to BRADFORD BREWERY for their support in creating Bradford City LGBT fan group (@BfdCityLGBT)  and also designating the bar as a safe space for LGBT fans on a match day.
JBG? founder Lindsay England presented the silver salver to Brewery Owner Roy Davison (pictured above wearing one of JBG?'s ltd edition claret & amber shirts!) and it was immediately put on display for staff and customers to admire.

Alison Jackel, Manager of the Bradford Brewery had this to say on learning of the award: " I'm proud the Bradford Brewery has been given the 2015 Tackling Homophobia in Football Award and we are very happy giving support to Just A Ball Game? We are proud we are the only 'straight ally' bar in the world to offer a dedicated safe space for LGBT fans on a match day and beyond. It's important to stand up to homophobia. I personally will stand by JBG? to educate and support against homophobia."

                                            

The birthday celebrations continued during the week when JBG? also gained support from Bantams Banter podcast presenters TOM & DOM who spoke about JBG? and the Bradford City LGBT fan group on their West Yorkshire Sport radio show. Anyone who missed the recording can catch up here for a few days: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p035qnhf

                                            




We end our week with the official announcement of a second football club to come under the JBG? brand as a group of professional women in the North West who play recreational 5-a-side football to keep fit and healthy have partnered with us to become another Just A Ball Game? team known as JBG? MERSEYSIDE. The team play in a league at the Netherton Goals Soccer Centre on a Thursday evening and proudly wear our JBG? strip.
                                       



Monday, October 19, 2015

Has Women's Football Inspired Roy Hodgson’s Team?






                              Has Women's Football Inspired Roy Hodgson’s Team?
 
Months after the England women’s teams superb effort in the World Cup, where they reached the semi-finals, England’s men’s team have continued the assault on all fronts with a string of impressive victories. So has the women’s teams recent heroics inspired the men to up their game ahead of the European Championships next year?

After the devastating loss to Japan in the semi-finals, it was admiral how Mark Sampson’s team picked themselves up and secured a third place finish at the tournament. In the third place playoff they managed to defeat Germany 1-0 to finish the tournament on a high note thanks to a http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/international/womens-world-cup-2015-england-go-ahead-against-germany-in-third-place-play-off-10366638.html 107th minute penalty scored by midfield dynamo, Fara Williams</a>. The result meant that this was England’s most successful World Cup campaign since Bobby Moore lifted the trophy in 1966.

But regardless of the devastating way the team went out,http://www.theguardian.com/football/2015/jul/01/womens-world-cup-heartbreaking-own-goal-kills-englands-dreams through a Laura Bassett 92nd minute own goal, the nation rallied behind the team. Women’s football got a huge boost from Sampson’s brave squad and the way they went about their business, who unlike their male counterparts who have become perennial underachievers at major tournaments over the years. Not since Glenn Hoddle’s ‘98 England side have the men’s team put up a significant challenge to win any silverware.

So it begs the question, has this motivated the men’s team to performed better? With Roy Hodgson’s side winning 10 out of 10 games in their European qualifying group, some might say, yes. It’s about time that as a nation we performed to the best of our abilities at an international tournament. And if the Lionesses showed anything in North America it was that with a bit of grit and determination, anything is possible.

http://www.fifa.com/fifa-world-ranking/ranking-table/women/ The women now find themselves 5th in the FIFA World Rankings thanks to their impressive showing in Canada. With the men’s team officially seeded in the upcoming draw for the European Championships, they can take a lot of pointers from the women’s team as they look to win the Euros for the first time in our history.

What Roy Hodgson’s team should remember, is that regardless if they aren’t favourites to overcome their opposition, even if they don’t win, they should go out on their shields.https://betting.betfair.com/football/womens-world-cup/japan-v-england-womens-world-cup-semi-final-betting-tips-010715-39.html Even though the women’s team may have overachieved in Canada, it’s through their resilience and heart that got them so far in the tournament, and the men’s team should definitely go into their upcoming trip to France next summer with the same mentality if they want to make an impression in the tournament.

 


Tuesday, October 06, 2015

A Sporting Partnership




JUST A BALL GAME?

EVENT:  THURSDAY 1ST OCTOBER 6:30- 9:30PM AT BRADFORD BREWERY.


A SPORTING PARTNERSHIP


Just a Ball Game? has teamed up with Bradford Brewery to create a new unique  partnership. On the 1st October, the brewery will be launching a beer named Just a Ball Game? and launching a safe space for LGBT sports fans on match days. 

Additionally, on the night, a new Bradford City LGBT Supporters Group will be officially launched, with the Twitter account  @BFDCITYLGBT. The new fan club is endorsed by Bradford City Football Club, who are already proudly displaying the banner.
“Bradford City FC is delighted that Just a Ball Game? has achieved this support from the Bradford Brewery. The Club has worked closely with Just a Ball Game? since its inception and they have always provided sensible and practical support for the Club as it looks to attract LGBT fans to its home games.
We are a Club that is open to all and Just a Ball Game? has helped Bradford City FC to ensure its fan-base is fully inclusive.  We thank Bradford Brewery for their support for this venture and hope that the organisational links helps Just a Ball Game?  to go from strength-to-strength.” David Dowse, Facilities Manager, Bradford City FC.

During the course of the evening, there will be a Q&A session with invited guests including Gerry Sutcliffe, the former Sports Minister and Councillor Richard Dunbar. Alongside this there will be an educational exhibition on display, entitled “Time for Action”, and memorabilia from the women’s football game.
Support for these initiatives’ has come from many people including the Leader  of Bradford Council, David Green,I welcome this initiative applaud the organisers in making sure that the peoples game is open and safe for all people to enjoy. It is great to see one of our new local businesses getting involved in this community initiative and supporting one of our great sporting clubs”

The beer will be a traditional English Best Bitter containing pale malt, crystal malt, wheat, caramel and chocolate malt with a royal gold colour.
In addition to being on sale at the Bradford Brewery, the beer will also be sale at Al’s Dime Bar, on North Parade.


Lindsay England, founder of JBG? said, “ Just a Ball Game? are very proud of the partnerships with both Bradford Brewery, and Al’s Dime Bar. Who, as of the 1st October will be selling a beer with our brand name on it to mark the launch of the LGBT safe space and Bradford City LGBT fan group.”

 A spokesperson for the brewery had this to add: "Bradford Brewery are pleased to support Just a ball Game? It is important that individuality within sport is celebrated. We are all one team."- Alison of Bradford Brewery.
It’s hoped the branded beer, safe space and LGBT fan group will help to evolve an LGBT /straight alliance and inspire other communities to do similar.


The launch is a free event, and open to all who wish to support the venture.



Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Joint Media Release: JBG? and Bradford Brewery.



        Joint Media Release: JBG? and Bradford Brewery.






Bradford Brewery partnership with Just  A Ball Game? create a branded Beer to launch LGBT Fan Group and Safe Space.

Campaign organisation Just A Ball Game? (JBG?) has created a unique partnership with Bradford Brewery to provide a branded beer on sale for the month of October 2015 to launch a Bradford City LGBT Fan Group and also the venue as a ‘Safe Space’ for LGBT fans to drink at on match days.

The launch will take place 18:30 -21:30 on October 1st 2015 with a number of invited guests including former Sports Minister Gerry Sutcliffe, Bradford Councillors Richard Dunbar, Susan Hinchcliffe and Sue Duffy. JBG?’s educational exhibition ‘TIME FOR ACTION’  will also be on display along with posters and memorabilia from the Women’s Game will also be on display during October.

Mr Dunbar says, "I am proud to be part of this Just A Ball Game? initiative to get a fan group going. LGBT sports fans need to know they are in a safe environment, and can enjoy the whole match experience the same as everyone else."

Lindsay England, founder of JBG? said, “ Bradford City have for several years supported the local LGBT community as part of the ‘football family’ and the time is now right to introduce an LGBT fan group for the club.” “We wanted to take a quirky idea and bring our brand name to local football fans to create a way they can connect with our work in raising awareness around LGBT inclusion and visibility. Having the Bradford Brewery partner with us by introducing a new beer and a safe space can help bring this about.

The beer will be a traditional English Best Bitter containing pale malt, crystal malt, wheat, caramel and chocolate malt with a royal gold colour.

 Listen to how JUST A BALL GAME? beer was made. Open url,click play. If Whoops! appears click Music Player For Google Drive. http://tinyurl.com/o2pyr6k


A spokesperson for the brewery had this to add: "Bradford Brewery are pleased to support Just a ball Game? It is important that individuality within sport is celebrated. We are all one team."- Alison of Bradford Brewery.
It’s hoped the branded beer, safe space and LGBT fan group will help to evolve an LGBT /straight alliance and inspire other communities to do similar.



contact:info@justaballgame.co.uk





Thursday, July 16, 2015

JBG? Comment on FA Statement regarding Malky Mackay and Iain Moody.

           JBG? Comment on FA Statement regarding Malky Mackay and Iain Moody.

Just A Ball Game? (JBG?)  who raise awareness around LGBT inclusion and challenge what is seen as homophobia or anti-gay,are very disappointed (but not surprised) that The Football Association (FA) has after a long investigation in line with the FA's own anti-discrimination policies taken the decision not to charge former Cardiff City and Wigan Athletic manager Malky Mackay and Iain Moody, a former employee of Cardiff and Crystal Palace, for alleged racist, antisemitic, sexist and homophobic comments revealed by the Daily Mail in August 2014.

We at JBG? want to see all football authorities take a zero tolerance to all discrimination within the game.
The Football Association (FA) announced that Malky Mackay and Iain Moody are not being charged for alleged racist, antisemitic, sexist and homophobic comments. See the FA statement here: 
"The FA has undertaken a thorough and detailed investigation in connection with inappropriate language contained within text messages and an email sent by Iain Moody, and text messages sent by Malky Mackay when they were employed by Cardiff City FC.
The messages, sent between June 2011 and March 2014, were obtained by Cardiff City FC in March 2014. The FA first became aware of the messages in August 2014. The messages were provided in full to The FA in October 2014.
To date, The FA’s policy in cases such as this has been to not bring charges in respect of private communications sent with a legitimate expectation of privacy.
The FA’s investigation looked at all aspects of the communications, including the context in which the communications were sent. The evidence was then reviewed by a QC with particular expertise in sports’ disciplinary proceedings and employment law.
Having assessed the evidence, and in light of the finding that the communications were sent with a legitimate expectation of privacy, The FA will not be taking disciplinary action against Iain Moody and Malky Mackay in connection with the content of those messages.
However, The FA has spoken to both Iain Moody and Malky Mackay about the inappropriateness of terms used in the messages. Both individuals have acknowledged that such terms are not acceptable. Mr Mackay has also voluntarily undertaken equality and diversity training.
The FA is in the process of carrying out a complex review involving all stakeholders on how communications, and in particular those involving discriminatory language, which may be viewed as taking place in private should be treated in the future.
The English game remains determined to eliminate discriminatory conduct in all its forms and will look to introduce a policy on private conduct that underpins the collective commitment of stakeholders to make this happen.
Wider review
In addition to investigating the context in which the communications referred to above were sent, The FA has conducted an investigation to establish whether Iain Moody and Malky Mackay engaged in discriminatory behaviour during their time at Cardiff City FC.
The FA has pursued every lead and encouraged anybody who wanted to provide information or evidence to do so. Malky Mackay and Iain Moody have been interviewed at length and 27 potential witnesses, based in the UK and overseas, have been spoken to.
All of the information and evidence gathered during this process has been carefully assessed, with the assistance of a QC. At this stage no disciplinary charges will be brought against either Malky Mackay or Iain Moody in respect of their conduct whilst they were employed by Cardiff City FC.
The FA has reached its decisions based on the information and evidence currently available to it. Should more information or evidence come to light then The FA reserves the right to bring disciplinary action as appropriate.
Other developments in The FA’s investigation
The FA has at all stages sought to conclude this matter as quickly and efficiently as possible. However, the investigation has been lengthened considerably due to serious concerns about the circumstances in which particular evidence provided to The FA had been given and the reliability and completeness of that evidence.
The nature of these concerns, which The FA treats with the utmost seriousness, has necessitated significant further inquiries by The FA and the liaison with external law enforcement agencies.
The FA reserves the right to open further investigations if deemed appropriate. No further comment will be made in this respect."

Sunday, May 31, 2015

WOMEN'S WORLD CUP 2015 CANADA- OUT PROUD and KICKING





                       JUST A BALL GAME?     MEDIA RELEASE.                                       

                   
                                                                                                                             ©   2011-2018.

                                                          
                                          OUT,PROUD and KICKING.

 It seems like stigma and prejudice around women playing football has been around forever as the sport fails annually in delivering on Equality Inclusion and Diversity. 
 
This year’s Women’s World Cup in Canada will showcase elite players from across the globe, many of whom in the competition will for the first time be paid a wage (of sorts) to train and compete professionally.

While the men’s professional game has been reluctant to be fully inclusive and supportive of anyone within the game who identifies as LGBT its generally regarded that football is much more accepting of women who are lesbian or bisexual. But exactly how true is this?


With society in general a little more accepting of homosexuality these days, players are out to team mates, coaches and managers in numbers compared to say 10-15 years ago. But still very few playing at the highest level are out and proud publicly meaning they can be seen as much needed role models for young people to look up to and aspire too.


Asking why this is, we at Just A Ball Game? (JBG?) have been given a number of reasons. Some state it’s a non-issue, some are ‘out’ to their team but not to family members or friends, some are not out to work colleagues, some still fear being vocal about sexuality will affect endorsements or chances of being selected for team or country. Others quiet simply want to keep their private life just so, and others see a need to protect partners or family from bigotry or abuse


In celebration of those women’s players who have spoken to the media openly about their sexuality, here at JBG? we have produced a double sided poster of 14 players and a coach who will feature for their International sides in the tournament in Canada all of whom are OUT, PROUD and KICKING.





Coach:
Pia Sundhage-Sweden:

A former Sweden International Pia told the media, "There has been no problem for me to be openly gay as head coach in the USA team." She went on to say that she and her partner received a solid welcome in the U.S. "If people ask me about it”,  I answer “Yes I’m gay and that’s how it is. I’ve never come across any trouble for it as a coach in the United States or anywhere.  It was tough when I was twenty-years-old in Sweden, but even then I didn’t care.  This is me. Take it or leave it."

Players:

Nadine Angerer-Germany:
Nadine was quoted with this line when the DBF announced it was sending a pro-gay leaflet to all 26k clubs in Germany, “I want to tell you to come out, please. It’s really important we respect ourselves.”

Erin McLeod-Canada:
The Houston Dash keepers relationship with Ella Masar was very openly announced in a heartfelt blog story by Ella, and there is lots of love between them on social media.

Casey Stoney-England:
Arsenal defender Casey and long term girlfriend and former team mate Megan Harris have baby twins together.

Lianne Sanderson-England:
Arsenal and former Boston Breakers striker Lianne has always been very honest around her personal life while playing in the UK and US and has spoken about how great it is to be yourself and open to fans who meet her after games.

Abby Wambach-USA:
Team captain and all time record goal scorer  for the USA  Abby married former player (and Athlete Ally) Sarah Huffman in Hawaii 2013.

Megan Rapinoe-USA:
Megan ‘came out’ in the media prior to playing in the 2012 London Olympic Games stating:
“I just felt like I was leaving something out and omitting something and not being 100 percent truthful. Even though I never lied about anything. The world is sort of presumably straight, so I think I wasn’t wanting to be assumed [to be straight] or have people believe that. I’m obviously very proud of who I am. I couldn’t be happier with who I am. It was something that was important to me.”
As well as a footballer Megan is an advocate for a number of LGBT organisations.

Caroline Seger-Sweden:
Caroline as a 17 year old felt ashamed to be lesbian and tried to hide her relationships. Today she speaks out about it helping other young LGBT’s who may struggle with their sexuality.

Hedvig Lindahl-Sweden:
The Chelsea keeper openly speaks about her girlfriend and son in interviews for the media.

Katie Duncan-New Zealand:
Recently married her girlfriend (former New Zealand player Priscilla Duncan) and now plays in Switzerland to be with her new bride who works in Zurich.

Isabell Herlovsen-Norway:
She came out as a teenager saying it felt very natural to her and wanted to be true to herself, her family and friends have been supportive and she thinks it’s important to be open publicly.

Trine Ronning-Norway:
The 29-year-old defender made her debut on the national team in 1999. In 2009 she became team vice-captain. In January 2009, she married teammate Kristin Blystad Bjerke shortly after same-sex marriage became legal in Norway.

Nilla Fischer-Sweden:
Married her girlfriend Maria Michaela in 2013, she was named ‘gay of the year 2014’ in Sweden and is an official ambassador for the Stockholm EuroGames in 2015.

Lisa Dahlkvist-Sweden:
Team mate of Seger, Lindahl and Fischer Lisa who came out publicly back in 2008

Michelle Heyman-Australia:
Michelle another athlete whose quite open with her personal life on social media and says she really has never been in the closet and there was no real big revelation. It’s a non-issue for her, for her team mates. It’s a non-story.