Kick It Out is working with many professional clubs on the Equality Standard framework which looks at clubs' equality and diversity issues including a section on sexual orientation. It works with a range of gay rights organisations such as Stonewall, the Gay Football Supporters Network and the Justin Fashanu Campaign, on engaging with the game's gay community nationwide.
In addition, kickitout.org serves as a resource to promote news stories about homophobia, interesting initiatives from both the UK and abroad, and how people can get involved in helping Kick It Out raise awareness of the problem.
Kick It Out now plays a central role in the football authorities' fight against homophobia in the game. It sits on the FA's Tackling Homophobia working group and a TUC led alliance and on another group formed by the European Gay and Lesbian Foundation. This collective work highlights the problem on a domestic and European level. Kick It Out actively supports gay rights groups using football to raise awareness about the problem and make the game a more welcoming and safe environment for gay players, administrators and fans. Kick It Out has held a high profile event during each of its last two One Game One community weeks of action campaigns, one at the former FA HQ in Soho Square and one at Brighton Hove Albion FC to scrutinise some of he issues around homophobia and the role the organisation could play in tackling it.
What will it take for your project to be successful over the next three years? Please address each year separately, if possible.
The film would be distributed to professional clubs to play on big screen inside stadia. To maximise the impact of this, screenings would be coordinated carefully to cover two weekends of fixtures in order for the clubs playing at their home stadium to ensure added publicity appears in matchday programmes and on websites. Clubs will also be encouraged to use the opportunity to promote local community organisations already working to reduce homophobia in football and sport more generally for vital local context. Based on average Premier League attendances alone the film would be expected to reach approx 800k people during this fortnight.
The film would distributed to all 92 professional clubs complete with notes and guidelines on how to use it effectively, such as classroom based activities for apprentice players, or ‘scholars’. Feedback from these sessions will be gathered in order to measure effectiveness.
The next phase would be to ‘roll it out’ into the education sector. According to the Teachers Report survey in 2009, 94% of staff say that they have never received any formal guidance on how to deal with issues around homophobia. This indicates a real issue in how the topic is dealt with in the classroom but in turn, presents an opportunity for the film and a bona fide ‘space’ for it to be used in this environment. The success of Kick It Out’s education work has centered on using football, the game itself and the high profile players involved, as a way of talking about diversity. This approach would be used here, with a bespoke education pack produced in close consultation with teachers, educationalists and relevant bodies.
Using the tactics outlined in years one and two, the film would be used at European and international level. Kick It Out is a founder member of FARE (Football Against Racism in Europe) and would use these networks to ensure the film is taken into global institutions that deal with diversity, equality and inclusion.
What would prevent your project from being a success?
If the film was produced and not taken on board schools, this would represent a failure of sorts. However, in order to prevent this from happening, close consultation would take place with some of the key agencies within the education sector (DCFS, Ofsted etc) to help at the briefing stage.
Another factor would be a public 'backlash'. The sensitive nature of the topic may result in dissenting voices. To sidestep this, full and open dialogue would take place prior to scripting and production with a range of groups and individuals relevant to the topic and who could add value and critical analysis.
In addition, the Kick It Out 'brand' is well established as a leading force in this arena. Many would appreciate these steps being taken as a given in order to deliver the topic in a responsible manner.