DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION AWARD
o Brighton & Hove Albion Football Club
WE DO NOT LABEL DIFFERENCE, WE CELEBRATE IT. Brighton and Hove is a vibrant and inclusive city. The LGBTQ+ community is three times higher than the national average – 15-20% of all adults in Brighton identify themselves as lesbian, gay and bi-sexual, twice the percentage in London and three times the percentage in Manchester. The transsexual community is also twice the percentage than the national average, equalling around 1%. Football, like society norms, has moved on in recent years but there is still work to do with accepting difference. Our challenge is reflecting our community demographic to ensure the club stays an inclusive environment and experience for all. We are aware that abuse is only generated by a small minority, therefore we aim to inform rather than preach or enforce information around key subjects. We are active as a major partner of Brighton Pride and of local LGBTQ+ hubs and charities. We are proud of who we represent with training, a network of allies, active community recruitment and more. We are also open about our zero-tolerance policy with homophobia treated on a equal level as all other acts/forms of abuse and creating impact education for perpetrators.
o Bristol Rovers Football Club
Bristol Rovers Community Trust and Bristol Rovers FC have been working closely in partnership for 2 years to develop a strategy to enable us to increase the diversity of our fanbase from underrepresented groups. Bristol currently has a community of 16 % BAME residents. A recent investigation into the backgrounds of our season ticket holders and surveys carried out within the stadium on matchdays indicated approximately 1.5% of our fans came from these highlighted communities, highlighting that as a club we were not engaging with a large representation of our community.
The My Rovers, My Shirt Campaign was born out of the need and desire for us a football club to engage and inspire our local communities as well as highlighting the diversity among the club’s fanbase and championing the multi-cultural nature of Bristol.
Para and Disability football is a key focus within BT’s transformational ‘4-3-3’ sponsorship strategy as lead partner of the England, Wales, Scotland and Irish Football Associations.
With over 14 million disabled people in the UK, disability football receives little or no exposure and has been overlooked or ignored by audiences and sponsors, until now. This means remarkable people and players across the UK were going unnoticed and un-supported and that millions living with a disability were unaware of the positive benefits they could experience through football.
To make a difference to this community, BT challenged the status quo to shine a spotlight on the game in a way never seen before. #DiscoverDisabilityFootball campaign has been a game-changing platform that’s inspired millions across the UK to watch, support or play disability football.
o Everton Football Club
Everton Football Club and Technical Partner, hummel, collaborated to raise awareness of inclusivity in sport, promote and celebrate the goals of Copenhagen 2021 World Pride and the EuroGames, and generate the funds to leave a difference-making legacy on Merseyside through delivery of LGBTI+ awareness sessions.
This initiative was part of the Club’s ‘All Together Now’ equality and diversity campaign and hummel’s own ‘Change The World Through Sport’ pledge.
Specially designed ‘Rainbow’ warm-up shirts were worn by Everton’s Men’s First Team for their opening Premier League fixture of the 2021/22 season against Southampton at Goodison Park and by Everton Women for a pre-season friendly against Brighton & Hove Albion on the same weekend.
The shirts were later auctioned and retailed, raising more than £12,000 to allow Everton in the Community to broaden its delivery of LGBTI+ awareness and celebration across its youth engagement programmes and in local schools.
The collaboration also led to the creation of inclusive football training sessions, an awareness-raising football tournament, and a competition for youngsters that will see a winning poster design recreated as a mural in Liverpool to celebrate inclusivity. Other entries will also feature in a city-wide poster campaign.
o Proud Baggies
Proud Baggies is run as a not-for-profit organisation by a motivated group of volunteers lead by founder Piero Zizzi and Neil Basterfield. Both bring considerable experience to the organisation, Piero as a Sports Marketing Director and Neil as a Human Resources Director and Diversity and Inclusion specialist. The Group have 300+ active members and our work extends beyond WBA into the local community, working closely with a number of partners across Sandwell and Birmingham.
Whilst Proud Baggies focus is on ensuring a safe and welcoming environment for WBA’s LGBTQ+ fans, they are also heavily engaged in LGBTQ+ awareness across the local Region, engaging in schools outreach work with The Albion Foundation (WBA’s official charity partner), providing advice and guidance to numerous local organisations including West Midland Police Football Unit and Sandwell College as well as delivering inhouse training to WBA’s matchday stewards and wider workforce. Additionally, the groups’ innovative campaigns for Rainbow Laces and Football v Homophobia have won praise whilst raining awareness of LGBTQ+ inclusion in sport.
The group are already multi-award winners and have been shortlisted for Football v Homophobia and Football Supporters Association (FSA) awards for the last 3 years running.