17 May 2012


It's International Against Homophobia Day today and we thought we'd have a look back at what has been a very positive year for the club and fans in our role in ridding homophobia from football.

We got a lot of good feedback regarding an excellent article we published from Richie Morris which you can read on his blog by clicking HERE and furthermore another opinion piece from our writer Bitter and Twisted which you can read HERE.

They're different from each other; Richie being a professional journalist has the stats to back up his expose, whereas B&T seems to be the voice of the regular fan, trying to find some sense in the whole thing without wishing to be told what to think.

The Club have been progressive in what was a difficult year for anti-homophobia campaigns in regards to the 92 clubs.  Albion were forthright in signing the Anti Homophobia Charter with Millwall  at the Amex this Spring, but for whatever reason they were 1 of only 16 from the top 7 divisions to do so, The Independent calling the response 'Footballs New Hate Shame' in an article you can read HERE.

The Justin Campaign, the well-known anti homophobia in football lobbying group, said that “Albion have been one of the most supportive clubs in the country in the fight against homophobia in football" upon the signing of the charter, whilst also being featured in the official matchday programme.

The club worked effectively with Sussex Police, specifically Darren Balkham who is worth a follow @suspolfootball HERE, with regards to stamping out abuse at the Amex and on the road, with regular updates about arrests and even sentencing of those who partake in homophobic abuse at the football.

In the past it would be fair to assume that a report of homophobic abuse to a steward or police officer would not be dealt with, but the zero-tolerance approach taken by the club and the police is highly commendable and no-doubt a model for other forces in the UK.

In house, a homophobic tweet by a member of the development squad was dealt with quickly, the consequence of which included calling all club staff into the Amex to remind them of their responsibilities upon signing the charter.

The matter is still somewhat controversial however, and we were saddened to see North Stand Chat advise fans against making written complaints to clubs regarding homophobic abuse at away stadiums on the grounds that it would create excessive administration back at the Amex, a stance later condemned by our source within Albion In The Community.  This is not to say that NSC are not 'on board', and the forum has been a great place for fans to raise awareness, talk, argue and generally keep up to date with progress.

Elsewhere, North Stand Kollektiv have created a Football Vs. Homophobia flag for the North Stand (see above), whilst fans have generally been dignified in dealing with abuse, with some of best chants this season being the self-deprecating ripostes to some pretty disgusting songs.

Overall though, 2011/12 was a highly productive year which saw the development of strong foundations in the fight against homophobia in football, whilst also highlighting Albion as a very forward thinking, community-focused organisation.

Onwards and upwards.

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