This February, AFC Bournemouth are once again supporting Football v Homophobia.
And this weekend’s home Premier League fixture against Newcastle United will be dedicated to the campaign, recognising LGBT History Month in cooperation with Proud Cherries, the club’s official LGBT supporter group.
On Saturday at Vitality Stadium, members of Proud Cherries will form a guard of honour with rainbow flags bearing the group’s badge as the teams take to the pitch ahead of kick-off.
The flags have been funded by the Football Supporters’ Federation as part of the Fans for Diversity campaign.
“AFC Bournemouth is an inclusive club and one where anyone, regardless of gender, identity, race or sexual orientation, should feel comfortable watching football,” explained captain Simon Francis.
“Therefore, we are proud to support the Football v Homophobia campaign and do whatever we can to ensure that barriers continue to be broken down and that there is no discrimination in the game.”
The Football v Homophobia campaign aims to unite fans, players, communities, grassroots teams, professional clubs and the Football Authorities in opposing homophobia and prejudice against LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans) people in football.
It encourages people to take action against prejudice and discrimination based on sexuality or gender identity in football, and to celebrate and welcome diversity in the game.
Anwar Uddin, lead on the Fans for Diversity campaign, said: “It’s great AFC Bournemouth have a recognised LGBT supporters group. Hopefully this will encourage more of the community to get involved and ultimately improve the match day experience for everyone at the club.”
Di Cunningham, chair of Pride in Football, added: “The LGBT+ fan movement has grown so fast there are over 40 groups now, but few are as active and visible as Proud Cherries and few have been as well received by their club and fellow fans.
“It’s good to see AFC Bournemouth working closely with Proud Cherries and taking part in this year’s Football v Homophobia campaign making football better for everyone.”
AFC Bournemouth and Proud Cherries will also be making an appearance at Bournemouth University’s Student Pride festival on Tuesday (27th February).
If you experience or witness any form of discrimination, including racist, homophobic or sexist chanting, help to eliminate it from football by reporting it to the nearest stewards.
If you don’t feel able to do this, you can confidentially text 07968 980580. This will allow the club to monitor the situation and take action if appropriate.
Away from matchday, supporters can contact the club on 0344 576 1910 or email Liz Finney at [email protected].
To find out more about Proud Cherries and how you can get involved, email [email protected].
To find out more about the Football v Homophobia campaign, visit www.footballvhomophobia.com.