THE Premier League agreed a three-year partnership with charity Stonewall yesterday to help promote equality for LGBT fans, officials, players and staff.
The league said it would improve its efforts against homophobic abuse, whether in stadiums or online, and will focus on improving its reporting measures and training staff at clubs to better address homophobia.
Premier League executive chair Richard Scudamore said: “Premier League football is for everyone, everywhere and our clubs are committed to equality and diversity at all levels of the sport.
“We view the LGBT community as an integral part of our community and, working with Stonewall, we want this partnership to improve the experience of LGBT people already playing football, and supporting clubs, and to signal to others who might be interested in getting involved, that they are welcome to do so.”
Last season, the Premier League, English Football League and FA took part in Stonewall’s Rainbow Laces week, the biggest show of support for LGBT equality in sport to date.
The campaign will be repeated this year, between November 24 and December 3, with plans for a show of support across a round of matches announced next week.
The continuing reluctance of gay players to come out during their careers remains a significant issue for men’s football, particularly when compared to the women’s game or even other men’s sports such as cricket and rugby.
FA chair Greg Clarke memorably told a panel of MPs last year that he would not encourage a player to come out at the present time because he was worried about the reception they would receive from the terraces and on social media.