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PFA | Tackling homophobia in football

Rainbow laces

The PFA is ready to offer its full support to any player who is thinking of coming out about their sexuality.

Our policy is player-led and every member can be assured of the full support of the Players’ Association.

Deciding to come out is a very personal decision and will depend on individual circumstance. However, the PFA can co-ordinate on behalf of the player between their club, agent, press, social media platforms and family during any transitional process.

We also have in place a network of support from other gay sportspeople, including footballers, available to members who can share their own experiences of coming out. 

The PFA considers its key role in tackling homophobia as working on behalf of its members to change the culture of the game through education and awareness and we are proud to have been at the forefront of this work for over a decade.

The PFA is working to create an inclusive game for all…

  • The PFA has written and delivered Equality and Diversity Training for senior players which looks at the impact of homophobic language and works to create understanding around and for gay players. This has already been delivered to over 3000 professional players.
  • We have provided all clubs with literature and posters to support key messages of diversity and inclusion within the dressing room.
  • We have met with other sporting representatives and bodies to gain knowledge from their experiences and look at ways that we can apply this knowledge to football.
  • The PFA has worked directly with Robbie Rogers and Thomas Hitzlsperger to discuss and learn from their experiences within professional football.
  • We have led the TUC Tackling Homophobia Group to utilise the experience and knowledge of LGBT experts in the workplace and transfer that to within the football industry.
  • A toolkit has been produced and distributed to encourage campaigners to work with clubs to celebrate LGBT fans groups and promote diversity and inclusion.
  • We have seen an increase in LGBT fans groups over 5 years from 4 to 24.
  • We work with other football organisations to help create a safe and welcoming environment for everyone in football from fans to players, coaches and managers.
  • We regularly communicate and support the work of commercial brands that are endorsing LGBT sportspeople and consider this an area of further development.
  • We have supported Stonewall’s Rainbow Laces campaign since its inception for and on behalf of our members.
  • Our work has been recognised and endorsed by individuals such as Peter Tatchell and organisations such as Stonewall, Pride Sports, The Justin Campaign and Just A Ball Game.

The fact there are still no openly gay footballers playing in England clearly shows that there is much work to be done. Every person has the right to be themselves and as the Players’ Union we will continue to work hard to create a climate of acceptance for LGBT players.