August 9, 2012, by Harry Waddle
Tackling homophobia in the beautiful game
The University of Nottingham recently played host as football teams from across the UK gathered to tackle homophobia in the beautiful game.
Over 150 people took part in the competition, held annually to promote the work of the Justin Campaign, an organisation set up in memory of former Nottingham Forest player Justin Fashanu.
The striker, best remembered for a brilliant individual goal while playing for Norwich City against Liverpool in 1979/80, was the first openly gay professional footballer.
Following his untimely death in 1998, the Justin Campaign has worked to challenge the stereotypes and misconceptions that exist around LGBT&Q (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Questioning) people and work to ensure that the visibility of said people in football is both accepted and celebrated.
To promote their message, Campaign organisers have worked with the University’s LGBT&Q Staff Network to organise a tournament for each of the last three years.
After opening the tournament Professor Wyn Morgan, Head of Teaching and Learning at the University, explained: “We are delighted to continue our support for the Justin Campaign and again this year we had an excellent day of competition, fun and enjoyment all in the name of this excellent cause.
“Just as the Kick it Out campaign has worked hard to eliminate racism in football, the Justin Campaign seeks to do the same for homophobia. There is much work to do but the Justin Campaign is leading the way and we wish them great success in their work and hope to support their events again in the future.”
Friday Afternoon Fun and Audley Ladies received the men and women’s winners’ medals from Forest legend Frank Clark and Joanie Evans, co-president of the International Gay and Lesbian Football Association.
After making the presentation, Mr Clark said: “It is fantastic to see so many people from all over the Country supporting the campaign. Tournaments such as this are a great way to educate people within the sport about the effects of homophobia and how damaging it can be both in football and society.”
This year the tournament raised £215 for the Justin Campaign, which included a £50 donation from Unison. To find out more about the Justin Campaign, please visit: http://www.thejustincampaign.com/
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