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Home » Sport » Football

FA launch crackdown on homophobia

The FA published a new action plan today aimed at tackling homophobia in football and encouraging more lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) participation.

The Gay Football Supporters Network (GFSN) welcomed the Opening Doors and Joining In strategy as a sign the FA was taking "positive steps to confront the issue of homophobia in all aspects of football."

But gay former basketball player John Amaechi, an outspoken critic of football's failings on homophobia, said "posters and platitudes" weren't the answer.

The FA vowed to "continue to work tirelessly to ensure the game exists for everyone." They said they planned to "combat all forms of homophobic, biophobic and transphobic language and behaviour - whether by spectators, players, coaches or other participants."

Their document sets out a five-year strategy which includes educating stewards and grass-roots players, encouraging fans and players to report abuse, and working alongside organisations including GFSN, equality campaigners Kick It Out and the Justin Campaign - named after Justin Fashanu, whose suicide in 1998 is thought to be partly a result of the discrimination he suffered after becoming England's first and only openly gay professional footballer.

GFSN head Chris Basiurski said: "We look forward to working with them to make sure we see viable long-term results.

"We believe that this issue needs the same funding and commitment as has been invested in the fight against racism in football."

But Amaechi, a US-born Briton who came out after retiring from the NBA, told the BBC: "I don't understand why football fans aren't more angry by the way they are portrayed by the football authorities."

He said the FA's previous anti-homophobia video pointed the finger at "stupid, blue-collar people" and "stupid urban, re black, people."

Amaechi added: "Well, it's 2012 and they have just appointed their first woman to the board. Does that really tell you they are a progressive organisation or they are now reacting to the fact the focus is starting to shift on to them?

"A board that has just voted a woman on to the board in 2012 is not progressive. They are by definition the problem."

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