February is the international month of ‘Football v Homophobia’ (FvH) and the Pompey Supporters’ Trust are supporting the initiative in conjunction with the club.
FvH unites fans, players, communities, grassroots teams, professional clubs and the Football Authorities in opposing homophobia and prejudice against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGB&T) people in football. The FA, The Premier League and The Football League back the initiative. Year round, FvH enables people to take action against prejudice and discrimination based on sexuality or gender identity in football, and to celebrate and welcome diversity in the game. This culminates in an international show of support in February to raise awareness of the issue and to showcase new and existing work. The campaign has been around since 2010 and manages to generate global attention. Fans and teams around the world, from Croatia to Mexico have taken part and across the UK there has been a massive show of support.
The Trust sponsored some special tee-shirts and the players wore these in the pre-match warm up of the game against Wimbledon on Saturday to back the campaign. The picture shows PST Board Member Pam Wilkins with the t-shirt, alongside Joe Devera.
Club spokesman Colin Farmery said: ‘As a community club we want to make Fratton Park a place in which all fans feel safe and respected. We were delighted to get involved in this campaign when we were approached. ‘In the early 21st Century it is a shame issues such as this still need to be highlighted, but as a club Pompey is more than prepared to do our bit to underline that homophobia and homophobic chanting in football is not acceptable.'
PST spokesman John Kimbell agreed ‘The PST board were unanimously in favour of supporting the Football v Homophobia initiative at Fratton Park at the weekend. It was nice to be involved but as Colin says, it’s crazy that in 2014 we need to have an initiative such as this, but hopefully our support will go some way to make a difference’.
We are hoping to get the t-shirts signed by squad members soon and they will then be auctioned in the coming weeks to raise funds for the PST and the ‘Fight for Jack’ fund.