MEMBERS of the football community came together at Arbour Park in Slough on Sunday for an exhibition match in support of Football v Homophobia 2020 and to raise awareness of how to report acts of discrimination in the grassroots game.

Representatives from the Berks & Bucks FA, The FA, Slough Borough Council, Oxfordshire FA, Soho FC, Left Footers FC, Slough JustPlay! and the International Gay & Lesbian FA came together for the game to support the campaign which exists to challenge discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and expression at all levels in football.

February marks the international campaign’s month of action where people and organisations across the game help spread the message through initiatives such as support on social media, dedicated match days, wearing campaign t-shirts or exhibition games.

Organised by Berks & Bucks FA, the event was part of their ongoing commitment to supporting equality in the game and promoting Football For All.

It also served as an opportunity to raise awareness of how people across the game can report discrimination through The FA’s new online system.

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Simon Wears is Football Development Manager and Inclusion Lead at Berks & Bucks FA. He said: “Our fixture in support of Football vs Homophobia was a brilliant way for us to promote Football For All, and show our support to this important campaign along with some of our key partners from across the region.

“In addition to supporting the Football v Homophobia campaign, the event also provided an important opportunity for us to raise awareness of how to report discrimination through The FA’s new Tell Us, We’ll Tackle It campaign. It aims to encourage all participants and spectators to report any acts of discrimination that they witness within grassroots football.”

Royal Borough Observer:

Tell Us, We’ll Tackle It was rolled out by Berks & Bucks FA as a part of a national FA campaign. It was designed to put further emphasis on the importance of reporting incidents of discrimination, reassuring people that it makes a tangible difference, and that the updated process is simple and effective.

The FA has also created a video to outline its zero-tolerance approach, reiterating that there is no place for discrimination in football, whether it is online, in training, on the pitch or on the sidelines.

The two teams on the day, made up of participants from the various organisations, were named Rainbow Laces FC and Stonewall Utd.

Officiated by Steven De Souza-Wilson, a member of the International Gay & Lesbian FA, the game was evenly matched with the eventual winners, Stonewall Utd, edging out Rainbow Laces 7-6 at the final whistle.