Ipswich: Football club backs equality drive

Ipswich Town Football Club

Ipswich Town Football Club - Credit: Mike Page

IPSWICH Town has committed to support people in football who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT).

Ipswich will play Watford at Portman Road on Tuesday, where they will promote the ‘Football v Homophobia’ initiative which aims to unite fans, players and clubs in opposition against homophobia in the game.

The club’s secretary, Sally Webb, has vowed they will work to improve football for LGBT fans and players. She said: “Ipswich Town Football Club are proud once again to offer our support for this initiative.

“Homophobia, prejudice and discrimination against LGBT people in football are unacceptable and Ipswich Town are committed to creating safe and inclusive football environments for everyone, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.

“Together with the initiative we will work to improve football for our LGBT supporters, players and fans and to protect the right of everyone to participate.”

Suffolk police is also supporting the initiative.

Chief Superintendent Jon Brighton, county policing commander said: “Suffolk police fully support Ipswich Town’s involvement in the campaign.

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“Hate crime is a serious crime that undermines our communities. “Police officers inside and outside the ground will not tolerate any sort of hate crime, including offensive chanting.

“The club’s work to make the game more inclusive for everyone is something we are pleased to be associated with.”

Deborah Charles, of Suffolk Hate Crime Service, said: “We are pleased that ITFC is supporting this initiative and stating that homophobia is not acceptable.

“We would encourage anyone who has been a victim or witness of homophobia in Suffolk to contact Suffolk Police and report it, where they will be treated sensitively.”

She said people can contact the service anonymously on 01473 668966 or by emailing report@ suffolkhatecrime.org.uk

Ipswich Town has a Stamp It Out text message service number – 07834 439429 (standard text rates apply) – which is available for all supporters to report any incident by text.

The ‘Football v Homophobia’ initiative is supported by The Football Association, The Football League and the League Managers’ Association.

It is the idea of The Justin Campaign, which is named after Justin Fashanu, who committed suicide in 1998 and is the only British footballer to have come out as gay.

For more information, please visit to www.footballvhomophobia.com

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