|Title||Leagues behind : football's failure to tackle anti-gay abuse|
Football is Britain’s national game. Yet in 2009 not one gay professional footballer in Britain, of which there are undoubtedly many, feels that football is an industry in which it is safe to be openly gay. Neither does the game give lesbian, gay and bisexual football fans and players the respect and protection they deserve. This pioneering research by Stonewall, including a YouGov survey of 2,005 football fans and interviews with football insiders, shows clearly that anti-gay abuse is all too common on both terraces and pitches and that this abuse almost always goes unchallenged. Fans believe that it is this abuse, from fans, players and teammates that deters gay people from playing football and creates a culture of fear where gay players feel it is unsafe to come out. The research also demonstrates that many others – including women supporters and those with families – are deterred from attending games by the presence of anti-gay abuse. Fans are clear that it is the lack of any visible action by the Football Association, football clubs and their partners in tackling anti-gay abuse which has allowed it to fester on the terraces and in changing rooms across Britain. Football fans are also adamant that they want this to change and believe that football would be a far better sport if anti-gay abuse was eradicated. Football has had demonstrable success in challenging other problems, from racism to hooliganism. The same high-profile commitment and imagination urgently needs to be applied to tackling anti-gay abuse too. This research provides the Football Association, football clubs and their partners with a clear challenge from fans. If they fail to rise to it, football risks deterring a new generation of talent and losing its right to claim to be Britain’s national game for the twenty-first century.
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Leagues behind : football's failure to tackle anti-gay abuse