By Lewis McLeod
Homophobia has become such a big issue in Scottish football and there has now been a strategy put in place to combat the abuse in football.
Football v Homophobia is an organisation that is looking to fight against the stereotypes and allow the LGBTQ community to be represented correctly in football.
Football v Homophobia Scotland are the group behind the strategy and they headed the whole idea. The Scottish FA decided to back it because of the recent rise in homophobic slurs heard at games in Scotland.
With many other issues such as racism, they start to educate them from a young age so that they know that its not okay and they understand the repercussions of being homophobic. This could this be the way forward and would it allow younger people to come forward and feel more comfortable playing sports.
Sirri Topping, project lead at Football v Homophobia, is the fore front of this campaign. When asked about how the education section of the strategy would help people understand how to treat people of he LGBTQ community she said: “The strategy we have has three strands to it, communication, policy & procedures and education, so education is a huge part of the strategy that we have.
“This strategy should technically speak to all of football…if you are a youth football team then you should be able to look at it and see those opportunities.”
The operation has been put in place to educate and help people but Sirri has her concerns about how Scottish football will approach it.
“I think if the clubs read it and football stakeholders read it then it should bring changes but if it sits on the self and isn’t read then it won’t, we have done our bit to guide football.”
Education is not just in place to educate the younger people but also to educate coaches, referees and parents that may be attending the games
“Its important to call out homophobic behaviour, when its safe to do so and that definitely needs to be a strand of the strategy. Coaches and all football stakeholders need to be able to know how to do so. They need to identify homophobia and then also learn how to react to it.”
Homophobia has no place in society and has no place in football, Scottish football is going down the right path and other countries should learn from what is being put in place.