community

LGBT friendly football competition affiliates with County FA for the first time

The London Unity League (LUL) has announced that it will affiliate the Amateur Football Alliance (AFA) for the 2018/19 season

2018-08-01

For the first time, an LGBT+ friendly football competition has affiliated with a County Football Association.

The London Unity League (LUL) has announced that it will affiliate the Amateur Football Alliance (AFA) for the 2018/19 season.

The LUL will continue with its current approach to adult football. This arrangement will run as a pilot for season 18/19.

Brian Silk, Chair of the LUL, said: “I am delighted that the LUL and AFA are taking this ground-breaking step for LGBT+ friendly football and all football.

“Leagues like the LUL were originally set-up partly because LGBT+ players did not feel comfortable taking part in mainstream football.

“And, whilst there is still work to do to combat homophobia in our national game, significant progress has been made.

“England’s football governing bodies and professional or semi-professional football clubs have developed increasingly closer working relationships with LGBT+-friendly football competitions and clubs.

“There has also been the rise of LGBT+ football club supporters’ groups in recent years.

Brian Silk and Jason Kilby

“This affiliation represents a major opportunity for LGBT+-friendly football and England’s football governing bodies to join together, as one, and to send out the message that football is for all.

“You could say ‘LGBT+-friendly football is coming home’.”

The league will gain access to the AFA’s support and resources, such as coaching and refereeing courses, funding opportunities and the FA’s league administration tool, Full Time.

Jason Kilby, Chief Executive of the AFA, added: “We are pleased to be partnering with the London Unity League to bring the league and clubs the support and service that any other affiliated member receives.

“The league is forward thinking in how they operate and we are proud to be promoting Football For All.”

Chair of the FA Inclusion Advisory Board; and, Charlton Athletic Community Trust (CACT) Trustee, Paul Elliott CBE said: “Following last year's launch of CACT Invicta FC, the first LGBT-friendly team formally affiliated to a professional football club Trust, it is great to see the Amateur Football Alliance are taking such a progressive step by affiliating the London Unity League.

“I believe this will be the first LGBT+ friendly competition in the UK to be part of a County FA. The FA and the FA Inclusion Advisory Board are working hard towards making the game more inclusive; our game is constantly evolving and we are making huge strides.

“This affiliation is sending out yet another significant message – ‘football is for everyone’.”

Director of Sports Pride, Lou Englefield said: “It’s good news for football to see a league such as London Unity League affiliating to its governing body.

“We know the initiative will bring benefits, not only to the league and its teams, but also to the Amateur Football Alliance; ultimately contributing to a more diverse and inclusive game.”