Awareness raising tournament success

Over 90 students from the University of Brighton’s Eastbourne campus participated in a 5-a-side football tournament to raise awareness of homophobia within sport.

The Football 4 Peace (F4P) vs Homophobia tournament took place in early May and supported the Justin campaign, which highlights the prejudices in football towards the LGBT community. It was set up in memory of footballer Justin Fashanu who tragically committed suicide after revealing his sexuality in 1998.

The day opened with a talk from Sophie Cook, who became the first transgender woman to work in the English premier league as club photographer for AFC Bournemouth. Sophie spoke about her experiences as a transgender woman in sport and how football has helped her.

The tournament itself was a sunny afternoon of football, underpinning the values of Football 4 peace International and successfully helped to raise awareness of homophobia in sport.

Organiser Harry Strong, who is a second year Sport Studies BA student, said: “English football in particular has been far too slow to tackle an environment where homophobia is still sometimes tolerated and gay players are scared to come out. Premier League players are afraid to be open about their sexuality because they know their clubs and managers would not be supportive.

“Sport and events such as F4P v Homophobia can advocate for equality, diversity and inclusion of all irrespective of age, sex, race, ethnicity, origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, economic or other status.

“It can be a successful tool for tackling inequality and for empowering individuals and communities. F4P v Homophobia is an awareness raising exercise and campaign that highlights to the public that there is no place in sport or society for homophobic behaviour.”

All photos courtesy of Lee Nolan who kindly provided his services for free.

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