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Fans for Diversity

This is a story from the FSF archive – the FSF and SD merged to become the FSA in 2019.

The Football Supporters’ Federation have a small budget for supporters at clubs in England and Wales who would like to organise activities challenging racism, homophobia, disablism, transphobia, or any other diversity issues.

In the past we’ve spoken to fans who would like to do events relating to these issues, but found themselves hamstrung by a lack of funds. We’re not talking huge amounts, but even the smallest events can incur costs such as banners, travel, and so on.

This can be a great way of bringing fans together, raising awareness, and promoting football to the local community. We believe football should be open to all – fans have many differences but that should never become a barrier to supporting your team.

There have been some great initiatives recently such as rival fan groups from Punjabi Rams and Punjabi Wolves Supporters joining forces to promote their teams to the local community; the aim being to get new fans along.

Back in September supporters came together to organise a match between disabled fans at the Dripping Pan (above), home of Lewes, before their fixture against Wingate and Finchley. The day of action was even covered by Sky Sports News.

“There are still a lot of stigmas around disability and mental health and basically doing events like this can really does benefit the community,” said Sean Macleod, mental wellbeing manager at Lewes.

“It makes people realise that these stigmas are not really valid and it’s showing that everyone can play football and everyone can take part and be a part of a healthy society.”

Only yesterday (Sunday 16th November) we teamed up with Kick It Out, the Gay Football Supporters’ Network, and Football v Homophobia, to organise the inaugural #Prideinfootball event.

Wanted – your ideas

There is no blueprint for this, we’re open to a range of ideas and what might work at one club, might not at another. Pull together a budget and plan which we can work with you on.

We’ve already seen fans produce t-shirts, banners, flags, mosaics and organise events, marches, even buddy systems.

From Headscarves to Football Scarves gave people who’d never been to a game the confidence to do so, by pairing them with match-going fans.

We’ll help promote any work you do as will our friends at Kick It Out. There’s a good chance the local media will be interested, we can help you with that too.

The media often pounce on isolated incidents of negative fan behaviour and ignore more positive stories, such as the massive fall in football-related arrests.

This is a great opportunity for supporters to highlight the more positive aspects of fan behaviour, so if you have a great idea, get in touch.

Gallery from fans’ match at the Dripping Pan (Lewes):

Thanks to James Boyes for the images used.

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Funding partners

  • The Football Association
  • Premier Leage Fans Fund

Partners

  • Gamble Aware
  • Co-operatives UK
  • FSE
  • Kick It Out
  • Level Playing Field
  • Living Wage Foundation
  • SD Europe