news

FA announces partnership with LGBT charity Stonewall

To celebrate the partnership, a historic football match will take place at Wembley Stadium

2018-11-08

The FA has announced a historic football match to celebrate its partnership with Stonewall.

The organisation invited Britain’s leading LGBT charity’s own football club to play a Middlesex County Football League Division One fixture at the historic Wembley Stadium.

The match will be the first time a regular season non-league fixture has been hosted at the stadium and is to celebrate The FA becoming a Stonewall Diversity Champion and to welcome a new partnership between the organisations.

Stonewall FC are set to take on Wilberforce Wanderers AFC in the game set to take place during this year’s Rainbow Laces season – a campaign to help make sport more inclusive for everyone.

From 17 November – 7 December, fans, players, sport officials and organisations will proudly demonstrate their commitment to LGBT equality by taking part in the campaign.

Paul Elliott, Chair of The FA’s Inclusion Advisory Board [IAB], said: "This new relationship presents an opportunity for football to help change hearts and minds beyond the stadia, as well as ensuring that everyone who makes football happen feels included.

“Whether players, supporters, members of the vital volunteer workforce, employees of The FA, contract staff or anyone else connected to the game, no one should be left behind.

“The principle behind this partnership therefore embraces the philosophy that the game is for anyone, anytime, anywhere.

"The FA is extremely excited to mark this move by welcoming Stonewall FC to play under the lights at Wembley Stadium.

“This is the first time we have invited a non-league side to play a league fixture at the home of football and it is shaping up to be a truly iconic and memorable evening for everyone involved."

Stonewall Director of Sport, Kirsty Clarke, said: "It’s so important that we’re now working with The FA. We need everyone involved in the national game at every level of football, from the community to the elite, to feel included and welcome.

“To have Stonewall FC invited to play at Wembley is a symbolic demonstration by The FA and it sends a powerful message that LGBT people are a welcome part of the football family.

“We now want to see everyone who plays a part in football showing their support and helping celebrate this momentous occasion."

Stonewall Football Club Manager, Eric Najib Armanazi, said: "Stonewall FC is honoured and excited to be invited by The FA to play a home fixture at Wembley Stadium.

“This event is a landmark moment for all those who have worked tremendously hard to eradicate all forms of discrimination within football, including our sponsors TeamPride.

“We are delighted that Stonewall FC will be able to showcase our talent under the stadium’s famous arch.

“This game will mark the pinnacle in my 12 and a half years as manager of the Club and I am extremely thankful to all those involved that made this happen."