Premier League and Stonewall launch LGBT football initiative
Three-year partnership with charity Stonewall will seek to aid inclusion for all lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in football; steps to be taken to address anti-LGBT language in stadiums and on social media
By Richard Cooke
Last Updated: 10/11/17 1:31pm
The Premier League and Stonewall have announced a three-year partnership to help further promote LGBT equality in football.
The league and its clubs will work with the charity Stonewall to encourage lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people to get involved in the sport.
That could be playing, supporting a club, or working in an off-pitch role, along with improving the experience of the LGBT community when they do so.
Through the partnership, the Premier League will join Stonewall's Global Diversity Champions programme, becoming one of 750 organisations that works to improve the lives of the LGBT community in the UK and internationally.
This will include the league taking steps to ensure it provides an inclusive environment for LGBT people it employs and engages with.
Stonewall's head of campaigns Robbie de Santos told Sky Sports News: "It's such a big deal that the Premier League are stepping forward and making this big commitment.
"The players have a huge role to play as well. They're followed by millions of fans across the football community and what they say matters, so it's really great to know that we can get more players talking about LGBT inclusion, and coming out as allies to LGBT people in football."
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A major part of the partnership will include work to address unacceptable language and homophobic abuse, whether in stadiums or social media.
This will focus on improved reporting measures, staff training and other programmes that will see the Premier League use the power of football, and its significant reach, to promote LGBT fan groups.
Commenting on the initiative, Premier League executive chairman Richard Scudamore said: "Premier League football is for everyone, everywhere and our clubs are committed to equality and diversity at all levels of the sport.
"We view the LGBT community as an integral part of our community and, working with Stonewall, we want this partnership to improve the experience of LGBT people already playing football, and supporting clubs, and to signal to others who might be interested in getting involved, that they are welcome to do so."
Stonewall chief executive Ruth Hunt added: "This is an important milestone for football, and for sport. The Premier League have stepped up and demonstrated how committed they are to helping make football inclusive and welcoming of LGBT people.
"We look forward to working together with the Premier League to create a game where everyone is able to be themselves."