Chelsea FC and Chelsea Foundation hosted an LGBTQI+ Fans’ Forum this evening as part of our No To Hate campaign.
No To Hate is a club-wide equality, diversity and inclusion programme that targets hate and discrimination and aims to educate all stakeholders inside and outside of Chelsea FC and football.
The Fans’ Forum consists of elected supporters and senior members of the club who meet three times a season to debate club matters. In this meeting, Tracy Brown, chair of Chelsea Pride and Lou Englefield, director of Pride Sports and a leading voice on LGBTI inclusion in sport for over 10 years, joined to discuss how the club and Foundation are supporting the LGBTQI+ community.
Recent activity includes our first-ever float appearance at London Pride in collaboration with Chelsea Pride, hosting our highest-ever attended coffee morning on the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia, and the introduction of a rainbow adorned Shed End Wall at Stamford Bridge and entrance to Kingsmeadow, showcasing the club’s allyship.
Chelsea Women’s Magda Eriksson and Pernille Harder also signed up for Common Goal, where footballers pledge one per cent of their earnings to organisations that drive social change. They became the first couple to do so, and their donations are pledged to PlayProud, a global initiative that aims to make team sports a safer and more welcoming environment for youths who identify as LGBTQI+.
All this meant that we were shortlisted for the first time and received second place at the 2023 Football v Homophobia Awards.
This evening’s Forum provided an introduction to what homophobia is, key terminology and how that can impact on experiences of football. It also identified potential barriers for LGBTQI+ people in football and explored opportunities for the club to reduce these, allowing members of the Forum to ask questions and offer advice and guidance on what more the club can do to tackle these issues.
Tracy Brown, chair of Chelsea Pride, said, ‘We are delighted that Lou joined us to share information about this important issue. We will continue to collaborate with the club on their equality work under the No To Hate campaign and believe educating our supporters is the best way to drive positive change and make football a welcoming space for everyone.’
This week, Chelsea FC and Chelsea Foundation are celebrating the work undertaken to promote equality and diversity across football with a Week For Equality between our Games For Equality, which culminate with Chelsea’s men’s first-team fixture against Everton this Saturday.