On Monday 27th May, I attended the fourth annual Charlton vs Homophobia Tournament at Charlton Athletic. This is the fourth annual tournament of its kind, in which six LGBTQI+ friendly teams – The Proud Valiants, Charlton Invicta, Charlton Athletic Deaf Team, University of Greenwich, RAF and Journalists – played in an 11-a-side tournament. The event aims to improve awareness, visibility and representation of LGBTQI+ football, subsequently fighting against homophobia, transphobia and discrimination. Indeed, the tournament serves to show the local community, fans and families in the stand and even anyone interacting on social media that football can support and look after the LGBTQI+ community, and that players who identify in these categories are welcome on the pitch.
The Charlton family work hard to tackle homophobia in football, such as always having representation at Pride and having an LGBTQI+ fan group – The Valiants – but this event was particularly enjoyable as I was given the honour of handing out the Justin Fashanu Trophy for fair play. It was wonderful to have Justin honoured in this way, and to see the work that I do at Black Heart Label to fight against discrimination in sport instigated in sporting bodies too.
The event was a resounding success and such a joy to attend. Thank you so much for having me, and thank you for all the hard work that you do to ensure discrimination in sport is eradicated.
‘It is with great pleasure we are co-hosting this event with the club for the fourth year. Homophobia and transphobia have no place within football. Charlton has a proud history fighting prejudice and making The Valley a safe, inclusive stadium for all fans.’Rob Harris, Chair Person of the Proud Valiants