Fans, fans’ groups, and other stakeholders from across the continent convened at the London Stadium, home of West Ham United, last weekend for the first strategic network meeting of OUT!, a Football Supporters Europe-led (FSE) initiative aimed at tackling homophobia in football. 

The meeting coincided with Pride in Football’s (PiF) third annual Call It Out event, allowing partners and participants to survey the challenges and opportunities facing LGBT+ fans from both a national and transnational perspective.

The main partners—Pride in Football (PiF), Fußballfans gegen Homophobie (FFGH), the Royal Belgian Football Association (KBVB/URBSFA), and Football Supporters Europe—and Advisory Board met on the Friday to discuss the project’s overall aims, methodology, and intended outcomes.

Saturday was devoted to the interests of fans. To this end, delegates from England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, Germany, and Belgium participated in three workshops. They shared their experiences, ideas, and examples of best practice. Their insights will form a significant part of the project research.

After the meeting, Greta Rinast from Football Supporters commented:

“We are incredibly pleased with the results of the first network meeting. We were able to bring together stakeholders from different backgrounds and contexts, all of whom were willing to learn, contribute to the discussion, and exchange strategies for tackling homophobia and empowering LGBT+ stakeholders in football. And, encouragingly, we have already seen action being taken off the back of the meeting. Some of the participants have swapped contact details with the aim of helping one another develop and expand their current activities.”

The next network meetings will take place in Germany in January and Belgium in May. The recommendations of the project will be published in a publicly available handbook sometime in 2020.

OUT! is co-funded by the Erasmus+ programme of the European Union and supported by UEFA, QFF, and FIFPro.

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