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Monday, December 07, 2020

Our new JBG? partnership with Keighley Albion RL FC

Keighley Albion are proud to announce that we have become a recognised partner club to the Just a ball game? organisation.
The official partnership is the first of its kind between a Community Rugby League Club and an organisation founded on promoting inclusivity in Grassroots Sports.

Just a Ball Game? (JABG?) encourage and promote inclusivity in sport environments, helping to support all the protected characteristics (in the Equality Act 2010): age; disability; gender reassignment; marriage and civil partnership; pregnancy and maternity; race; religion or belief; sex; and sexual orientation.
Having recently celebrated their tenth anniversary, JABG? have a developed a fantastic reputation through their work in sport, and in 2019 they won the UK Prime Minister Points of Light Award for LGBT+ inclusion in sport. The organisation have made a fantastic impact in grassroots football, with successful existing partner club relationships with Bradford City, F.C United of Manchester and AFC Rushden and Diamonds.
The organisation also have the support of several passionate and notable patrons, including Neville Southall (former Welsh International footballer), Edward Lord OBE (Chair of the London English Football Football Association. Inclusion Advisory Group) and Phuti Lekoloane (the first ‘out’ gay male professional footballer in South African Football). 
The Rugby Football League are passionate about promoting inclusivity in the sport, and as recent as October 2020, the governing body published a sport-wide action plan to make Rugby League a truly inclusive sport by tackling discrimination and breaking down any barriers to involvement. The “Tackle It” initiative includes actions on player and coach recruitment and development, talent inclusion and progression, community outreach and club development, as well as ensuring zero tolerance of all forms of discrimination within the game.
As a proud and reputable community club in the sport (Being one of Yorkshire’s biggest clubs) Keighley Albion are passionate about promoting inclusivity, equality and diversity across all levels. With over 300 registered club members, (with mixed gender teams from 3-11 years old, U12-U18 gender specific teams, and Open Age Men’s and Ladies teams), the club prides itself on encouraging the participation of all players, creating a respectful and safe environment.
There is also a mutual connect between Keighley Albion and JABG, with former player Reece Robertson being a patron of the organisation. When Reece came out as gay whilst playing for Albions open age side, the news was welcomed by his teammates, and likewise supported by the club.
 The partnership between Albion and JABG has also been endorsed by the towns professional team Keighley Cougars, as well as the Cougars Foundation.
The Cougars are fantastic ambassadors for inclusivity, and in 2019 the club hosted Rugby Leagues first ever PRIDE Event, with the innovative match day experience receiving a fantastic response from the community and the sport of Rugby League. The Cougars are famously the first ever sports club to be owned by a married same-sex couple in Ryan O’Neil and Kaue Garcia, and undoubtedly the message of inclusivity is one very close to the clubs heart. In line with the Foundations Community policy, players will be going out into the local Keighley community, including sports clubs and schools, to discuss inclusivity with local people.

Albion Committee Member, Rob Spencer:
We are really excited about the announcement and partnership with Just a Ball Game? as we look to change the perception of Rugby League in Keighley from a stereotyped ‘tough mans game’ to a sport and social environment where everyone is welcome.
We have to engage with our community and ensure that our club is more representative of its demographics. In the 2011 census, the largest social groups in the Keighley Parish outside those described as White, were Asian/Asian British (23.5%) and Black/African/Caribbean/Black British (0.7%). For the purposes of social integration, and in the interests of encouraging healthy lifestyles and positive lifestyle choices, better engagement with communities is of paramount importance - and our partnership with JABG? will help us to achieve these aims.
 I was heavily inspired by the Keighley Cougars Pride Day in 2019, having taken my U6 primary age group to take part in the curtain raiser. Having spoken initially to the clubs owner Ryan O’Neill regarding the partnership - it was great to hear that both the Cougars and the Foundation would endorse and support the partnership, and we would like to thank Cougars for their ongoing support.
Keighley Albion Chairman, Richard Dibbin:
We are delighted and proud to have made this partnership, we are the first amateur Rugby League club to have become a partner of JABG?, and the first community club in the sport to seek such a partnership - this speaks volumes on the type of club we want to build here. Rugby League is one of the greatest character building team sports, and everyone should feel confident and comfortable to take part.
We have started making plans to support the partnership including introducing an Inclusion Officer to our clubs committee. This role will be carried out by Maria Wild, who will help to promote, educate and implement interventions to encourage the awareness of inclusivity at club level. We have also started discussing hosting a pride festival that will include all our junior teams participating in a tournament with off field activities and entertainment. 

Lindsay England, Founder of JUST A BALL GAME?:
"We are very excited to have formed a partnership with Keighley Albion Rugby League FC and look forward to working with them on all things equality, inclusion and diversity."
"True acceptance and respect are generally all LGBT+ people expect from others, and many LGBT+ struggles have been won in the hearts and minds of the community."

With the passion of both the junior/amateur game alongside the towns professional club to promote inclusivity in Keighley, there will certainly be a fantastic impact in the local community.
More information on the partnership and JABG? can be found on the following links:
Keighley Albions JABG? Partner Club Profile:
TWITTER: @justaballgame
INSTAGRAM: @justaballgame


Monday, November 09, 2020

JBG? survey finds almost three quarters of LGBT+ people need a safe space to participate in sport.

JBG? survey finds almost three quarters of LGBT+ people need a safe space to participate in sport.


LGBT+ campaign organisation JUST A BALL GAME? (JBG?) work to raise awareness around inclusion and visibility for LGBT+ people in football and other sports. As part of our 10th birthday celebrations we have released our report from the survey we conducted earlier this year.

The research published in the documentation was conducted by Lindsay England, founder of “Just a Ball Game?” (JBG?) in partnership with Peter Millward (Professor of Contemporary Sociology, Liverpool John Moores University). This survey is a 10 year on follow up from the original piece of research which was conducted by JBG? a decade ago.

Some of the key findings are as follows:

1.     Just over 73.30 percent of survey participants feel the need to participate in sport or leisure activities in a ‘safe space’ by being part of an LGBT+, or an LGBT+ friendly club or inclusive of all group.

2.     Only 58 out of 133 who responded to the question ‘’Do you feel satisfied with the responses you got when you reported the homophobia, biphobia or transphobia?’’ felt that the response they got after reporting the bigotry was satisfactory. This figure highlights the need for further sensitivity and improvements.

3.     Findings underline those across the survey in highlighting modest improvements in the landscape but still much work to be carried out given that the prevalence of LGBT+ discrimination continues to be high.

Former Everton and Wales goalkeeper (who is also a patron of JBG?) Neville Southall wrote as part of the foreward for the report: “As an ally to the LGBTQ+ community I find it sad that they are still finding that sport still has many barriers for them.”




Chair of AFC Rushden &Diamonds Ralph Burditt says, “"It's excellent to see the results of the excellent work that JBG? have done in compiling this data. We have long known that sport has issues with discrimination on the basis of sexuality, but understanding the detail around this, where the specific problems lie and how the issues are changing with time is a vital next step in working towards a discrimination-free future."

Former professional player and another of JBG?’s patron Adam McCabe had this to say on the report:

“The JBG? report is a valuable tool that highlights the necessity to continue fighting for inclusion in football. As seen recently in the USL Championship regarding the abuse received by Collin Martin, it is as important as ever to educate, define and report issues surrounding all forms of abuse in football. The JBG? report does an excellent job not only highlighting how far the game has come, but also how far we still have to go.”

The report can be read in full here:

It can also be accessed from our blog and website, alternatively you can request a PDF file.




Contact for further information:

Founder-Lindsay England 


Monday, October 26, 2020

The Football Colective Interview 2020.


 Football Collective Interview.


In 2020. founder of JUST A BALL GAME? Lindsay England gave an interview to Peter Millward on behalf of the Football Collective:

Lindsay England, Just A Ball Game? and (Bradford City LGBT+ Fan Club

LGBT+ Lionesses Fan Club) - Interview, 5 March 2020, Liverpool

A        Interviewer

B        Interviewee


“So thank you Lindsay.  Erm, one thing as I’ve been undertaking this research is I’ve found out that you’re, well you’re really busy on the network aren’t you?  You’re really busy and you’ve got many roles through the Just A Ball Game? founder, the Bradford City LGBT+ Fan club co-founder and many others.  If we can start chronologically, is it the 10th birthday of Just A Ball Game? this year?”

B    “It will be, November 9th, 9/11, the official 9/11 if you want to see it like that.  It just happened like that, I never really thought about that to begin with, it was just down to officially, yeah, we did launch Just A Ball Game? as a campaign organisation on the 9th of November 2010.”

A    “And did I notice that it was originally going to be a more light hearted, Roberto Carlos’s Thighs?”

B    “Yeah so it originally Just A Ball Game? existed as a blog, so early 2009 I was doing a lot of voluntary work for what was then LGF Lesbian and Gay Foundation in Manchester, a couple of people I knew there were part of their North West Magazine editorial team and they wanted to touch on bits of sport cos they were interested in sport as well and it was something that was getting more and more prominence in the LGBT+ scene, not just in Manchester but across the country.  There was probably something like 25-26 different LGBT+ sports teams at that time in Manchester and had all been running for some time. So there was enough to focus on there plus all the work that I’d been doing myself and it made sense to do something as a short column for the on-line magazine and also the printed magazine that they had.  We got a great response from that and decided to set the blog up under the same name because yes the column in the Out North West Magazine was called Roberto Carlos’s Thighs and why not, if you’re gonna have a gay column about sport, why not, you know, he has got the best thighs in football, come on, at the end of the day.”

A    “They could welly a ball as well couldn’t they?”

B    “Yeah and he’s a great guy.”







The Football Collective is dedicated network of people who wish to bring critical debate to football – for those interested and involved in building football for the future. Through sharp analysis and research informed original reporting, we aim to provide a platform for thought provoking critical debate in football.
Our manifesto is simple:
We are a network bringing critical debate to our game
To achieve this The Football Collective has two main aims:
Aim 1: Deliver high quality events that provide a platform for critical and collegiate support, the dissemination and discussion of research findings, the development of research ideas and the enhancement of collaboration across the collective. Watch this space for our first conference in Manchester, December 2016.
Aim 2: To show case best practice and help share academic peer reviewed research in an accessible and understandable format for all. This includes:
- Share evidenced based commentary on football issues
- Disseminate peer reviewed research on football
- Open debate around key issues in related to football
All research published on The Football Collectives is Edited by the Collective Board. The Collective Board ensures that research contributions are current, relevant, appropriate and ethical, whilst also providing an informal peer review support for contributors.

Monday, August 31, 2020

JBG? team up with GMB Shout! NW with donation to homeless refuge.


JBG? team up with GMB Shout! NW with donation to homeless refuge.
With this year's Manchester Pride cancelled because of the Covid-19 situation, GMB Shout! NW teamed up with JUST A BALL GAME? and put their time and effort into making a donation of food and toiletries to TRAMWAYS who provide emergency accommodation for the homeless.
The items were gratefully received by the business owner Sonia, who thanked everyone for "The very generous donation given, " and staff member Stewart at the Bolton refuge.
The handover of items was also supported by local GMB Bolton23 branch president Jo Pitchford and branch secretary Alan Flatley along with GMB NW&I political officer Neil Smith. They were all joined by
JBG? founder Lindsay England who works for Events Security Services at the complex.

Several months ago an online poll of 2,109 people by YouGov on behalf of the LGBT youth homelessness  charity AKT (formerly known as the Albert Kennedy Trust) found a quarter of adults in the UK would not feel proud to have an LGBT+ child, as part of a new study.

They  asked people how they would feel in a range of scenarios if they had a child who came out to them as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, other.

When respondents were asked whether they would “feel proud to have an LGBT child”, 26 per cent of those polled disagreed.

Less than half (46 per cent) of people surveyed agreed with the statement that they would feel proud to have a child who had come out. 

We know that LGBT+ youth are disproportionately likely to experience homelessness, comprising as high as 40%  of the total population of youth experiencing homelessness. LGBT+  and young people of colour reported twice the rate of homelessness compared to white LGBT+ youngsters. 



Saturday, May 16, 2020


JUST A BALL GAME?  MEDIA RELEASE                                      


Violence, Harassment and repression of LGBT+ people still exists globally. 

Annually on May17th, IDAHOBIT- International Day Against Homophobia Biphobia and Transphobia is a co-ordinated International grass roots community date to raise awareness around LGBT+ visibility and inclusion, alongside encouraging society to take action against homophobia, biphobia and transphobia.

For this year’s IDAHOBIT theme of ‘Breaking The Silence’ JUST A BALL GAME? (JBG?) in partnership with LGBT Dorset Equality Network, have released a survey: looking at homophobia, biphobia and transphobia in sport.

It is hoped that whatever the outcomes, and/or differences found to our survey results (and therefore hard evidence collated for use) a decade ago, we can implement the findings to engage in dialog with the policy makers, NGB’s, the media, employers and general public to take action against any discrimination, persecution or hate crime which LGBT+ people face.
Despite advancement over recent years with some athletes ‘coming out’ sports are still very much an area of perceived male, masculine dominance and achievement. Along with the breaking down of these stereotypes and challenging sexism and misogyny there is also a need to try and eradicate to a minimum all forms of discrimination. 

Our survey is anonymous, it will take you around 5 minutes to sign into and complete and will be available to fill out until 11th July 2020.

We have allocated inclusive questions for both LGBT+ people and those who identify as heterosexual to answer to try and establish a balanced overview of what is relevant to all in 2020.


Contact for further information: