EXETER City Football Club will be saying “no to homophobia” at its home game with Stevenage (Saturday, February 18; kick off 3pm).
The match has been designated as the Club’s annual “Football v Homophobia” fixture and a number of initiatives to mark the day have been organised by the Exeter City Supporters’ Trust and its One Game One Community (OGOC) Group and the Club’s Football in the Community charity.
This is the eighth time that a Football v Homophobia match has been held by Exeter City and this long-term commitment will be recognised with an award at half-time.
Lou Englefield, Director of the national Football v Homophobia campaign, who will be presenting the OGOC Group with a commemorative pennant, said: “We are delighted to be acknowledging the Club’s annual support and for their year-round work to make sure football is welcoming for all.”
Players from both teams will warm up in Football v Homophobia t-shirts. These will be thrown to the crowd before the start of the game.
The players will then walk out for the pre match line-up behind a Football v Homophobia banner.
First team player and OGOC Ambassador Ollie Watkins has backed the initiative and said: “Homophobia like all discrimination, has no place in football. It’s time to call full-time on hate.”
The OGOC Group is delighted to be welcoming guests from Exeter Pride, University of Exeter LBGTQ+ Society and the Devon Lions, the local gay friendly football club.
Football v Homophobia leaflets and information about the Lions will be distributed to the crowd. Articles about the campaign will be featured in the match programme.
Also supporting the campaign over the weekend will be the Exeter City Ladies team, including at their match on Sunday, February 19.
The Exeter City Ability Counts disability teams will be backing the message too at a tournament on the Sunday. All the Exeter City activities are in support of a weekend of Football v Homophobia action being promoted by Devon FA.
And in a new move plans are being made to set up an Exeter City LGBT fans group.
Alan Quick, a member of the Supporters Trust and its OGOC Group, co-founder of Exeter Pride and South West Co-ordinator for Football v Homophobia is the point of contact for fans who would like more information. Alan’s email address is: firstname.lastname@example.org or he can be contacted via Reception at St James’ Park.
“Exeter City has a great record on opposing homophobia so with more and more clubs having LGBT fans groups we are going to try and launch one here,” said Alan.
The Football v Homophobia activities have been supported by Devon County Council and Devon and Cornwall Police and form part of Exeter City’s support for Kick it Out’s “Call Full Time On Hate” campaign.
Exeter City’s One Game One Community Group works with the national Kick it Out campaign to address all types of discrimination in football including race, disability, gender, age and sexual orientation.