We all want to feel welcome and safe at football matches, whether we are on the pitch, in the dugout, or in the stands. Anti-LGBT discrimination, be it ‘banter’ between players and coaches or more blatant chanting from spectators can often lead to us feeling uncomfortable or even threatened.
As an FA disciplinary chair and a magistrate in Central London I know that the football authorities and police can only take action against those who perpetrate homophobic, biphobic, or transphobic abuse at matches if it is reported at the time or as soon as possible afterwards.
The FA’s new films detail exactly what to do if you are a player or fan, should you encounter discrimination, and bring to life the animations of Paul Trevillion, famous for his ‘You Are the Ref’ cartoons. Former England stars Dion Dublin and Graeme Le Saux narrate the films, respectively.
I think these new films are a great reminder to fans, players and officials alike that we can all help fight discrimination. If you see it, or hear it, then you should report it.
Edward Lord OBE is a member of the Football Association’s Inclusion Advisory Board; a Stonewall Ambassador and Role Model; and chairman of the Amateur Swimming Association, England’s governing body for swimming, diving, water polo, and synchronised swimming.