The Premier League has announced a three-year collaboration with Stonewall to promote lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) equality in soccer.
The top-tier soccer league and its member clubs will work together with the charity organisation to encourage LGBT people to get involved in the sport in various capacity, including playing, supporting a club or working in an off-pitch role.
Through this alliance, the Premier League will join Stonewall’s Global Diversity Champions programme, becoming one of 750 organisations working towards improving the lives of the LGBT community in the UK and internationally. This will include the League taking steps to ensure it provides an inclusive environment for LGBT people it employs and engages with.
The parties will work towards addressing unacceptable language and homophobic abuse, whether in stadiums or on social media. This will focus on improved reporting measures, staff training and other programmes where the League will use the power of football, and its significant reach, to promote LGBT fan groups.
Additionally, the two entities will work closely with teams to ensure that equality and diversity are integrated into the various community programmes that they operate across the UK.
Last year, the Premier League took part in the biggest show of support for LGBT equality in sports to date. Premier League clubs, along with the EFL and The FA, turned sports rainbow for a weekend in a mass show of support for LGBT people.
According to Richard Scudamore, executive chairman of the Premier League, “Premier League football is for everyone, everywhere and our clubs are committed to equality and diversity at all levels of the sport.
“We view the LGBT community as an integral part of our community and, working with Stonewall, we want this partnership to improve the experience of LGBT people already playing football, and supporting clubs, and to signal to others who might be interested in getting involved, that they are welcome to do so,” Richard added further
Stonewall chief executive Ruth Hunt said: “This is an important milestone for football, and for sport. When we started this campaign we asked people to lace up. We knew this simple act wasn’t going to solve the problem, our aim was to raise awareness of the issue. We also knew we can’t tackle this on our own, we need allies.
“The Premier League have stepped up and demonstrated how committed they are to helping make football inclusive and welcoming of LGBT people. We look forward to working together with the Premier League to create a game where everyone is able to be themselves.”