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Saturday, February 01, 2020

Phuti Lekoloane becomes a patron of JUST A BALL GAME?

Phuti Lekoloane becomes a patron of JUST A BALL GAME?

South African full time goalkeeper Phuti Lekoloane becomes a patron of JUST A BALL GAME? 

As LGBT History Month 2020 kicks off, here at JUST A BALL GAME? (JBG?) we are happy to announce that the only ‘out’ gay South African full time footballer, Makapanstad Romans’ goalkeeper Phuti Lekoloane joins us as a patron.

Co-Chair of (JBG?) Alan Mercel-Sanca says, “We feel privileged when athletes from across the globe join our campaign and are excited at having Phuti on board.”   

Phuti wasn’t always a keeper, during his school days at Nkoana Primary and then Alan Ridge combined school he began his playing days as a right winger and sometimes a striker. 

Sadly Phuti faced bullying at a young age and in those days considered this to be the norm. He quit the game, and instead played netball. Physical harm followed when he was in his teenage years and it’s there realisation kicked in that this discrimination was wrong.

As a full time player Phuti also faced much discrimination and homophobia so it took some years to settle with a team and be accepted. Looking back to when he joined Tornardo FC the best thing about his time there was, Phuti says, “It’s that I was allowed to be myself and express myself all the time. I think the most important thing was I was never reminded that I am sexually different to others, the brotherhood was on another level.”

When asked about his thoughts on joining JBG? and being an ‘out and proud role model’ Phuti says, “ There are big responsibilities in shaping the future of the next generation of young LGBT+ athletes and taking the bait – I’ll help to create a safe space for them.”

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

JBG? 9th Birthday Celebrations.

                         JBG? 9th Birthday Celebrations.


Following on from planned 9th birthday celebrations JUST A BALL GAME? extended events to a whole week so as to enable our friends and partners to participate alongside our committee members and volunteers.
We are therefore happy to report that the following 9 events took place headed up by JBG? and also the two LGBT+ fan groups of Bradford City and England Lionesses whom we project mange.

We travelled to London and held meetings with both new and existing partners to arrange events for February 2020 as part of LGBT History Month.

We attended the Underground Fan club Lucozade event which was a warm for fans and media folks from within the women’s game prior to the international friendly next day.

We had a meeting with Skye Stewart chair person of Black Country Fusion FC, handing over some training bibs for the ladies team and we are proud to announce that Skye also agreed to come on board with JBG? in a more official role as our second trustee/ambassador.

We held our 9th birthday party in the Premier Inn Wembley Stadium (a hotel we often use or recommend for folks who need accommodation in the North London area) complete with cake, party bags and refreshments for our friends and volunteers, and we had space to showcase our resources and banners to the general public using the hotel.

We had the pleasure of being joined by GMB trade union’s National President Barbara Plant who is one of our JBG? patrons , and on our behalf kindly made a presentation to Skye Stewart in recognition of the LGBT+ inclusion work done by Black Country Fusion FC. Each year we thank an individual, team/club or group or organization who have helped us challenge homophobic, biphobic or transphobic bullying and this year JBG? presented the silver salver to Skye for the tremendous work done by everyone at the club in grass roots football and beyond.

We took several GMB trade union members who are LGBT+ to the England Lionesses game at Wembley stadium thanking them for their support as members of LGBT Lionesses fan group which JBG? project manage. A great day was had by all and we accommodated our disability members and had a presence inside the stadium with numerous LGBT+ inclusive flags and banners while cheering the team for the historic match.

We presented the new kit to our JBG? ladies 5’s team who play Tuesday evenings at Goals Manchester.

We thanked GMB North West & Irish trade union for their funding over the past 12 months which enabled us to continue with much needed educational sessions, attend meetings and conferences, local pride events and also replenish some of our stocks of resources when we presented framed JBG? football shirts to the Regional Secretary Paul McCarthy and Equality Officer Lisa Ryan.

We celebrated our birthday during weekend long working group meetings in Bremen Germany with our partners from Queer Football Fanclubs. Our project managed Bradford City LGBT fan group are members of QFF and JBG? have partnered and supported the European network of fan clubs for over a decade.

A fantastic year and we are already looking forward to and planning for 2020 celebrations!
Best wishes, team JBG?

Friday, October 11, 2019

JBG? Media: Rapinoe's heart-warming moment with inspiring fan.

JUST A BALL GAME? Media: Rapinoe's heart-warming moment with inspiring fan.



Our JUST A BALL GAME? founder Lindsay England was invited by FIFA TV to Milan for THE BEST awards, while there a film was made with Women’s Player award winner Megan Rapione. 

Here is the link to the film:

Photos from downtime during filming.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Media Release: GMB Trade Union National President on board as Patron.

GMB Trade Union National President on board as Patron.

Sport LGBT+ campaign organisation JUST A BALL GAME? (JBG?) are delighted to announce that Barbara Plant, National President of GMB Trade Union has joined them as an ally and Patron.

A sporting environment at grass roots or professional level is as regular a workplace as any other and covers many different occupations alongside volunteer opportunities.

For some time now JBG? and the GMB have partnered up on various events looking at challenging homophobic, biphobic and transphobic (HBT) abuse in football and other sports, while at the same time raising awareness and visibility around LGBT+ inclusion and having the union’s president is a further step forward.

 “As GMB National President I am delighted and so proud to become a patron of Just A Ball Game? and stand in solidarity with its aims.”
“ The work that JBG? does in promoting LGBT+ equality, inclusion and diversity in the world of sport is so important and necessary. Fighting discrimination in the workplace is something we do daily as trade unionists.”- Barbara Plant.

JBG?’s London officer Samantha McLaughlin says, “Barbara is and always has been a supportive ally and a strong activist for equality issues, having her as one of our patrons will enable us to evolve JBG?  using the power of the union both regionally and nationally.”