Local teams lining up to kick out homophobia

Group pictured at Bishop's Field for the launch of last year's Football v. Homophobia 5-a-side tournament.
Group pictured at Bishop's Field for the launch of last year's Football v. Homophobia 5-a-side tournament.

A host of youth and community groups have signed up help kick homophobia out of sport.

A growing squad of local groups, including unions and political parties have also agreed to take part in the tournament as part of Foyle Pride.

Those who have signed up include youth groups and youth workers from Derry and Strabane, representatives from Sinn Fein, SDLP MP Mark Durkan’s office, People Before Profit, Independent Councillors, trade unions and staff and residents from Jefferson Court. Foyle Pride and the Rainbow Project in Derry will also be fielding teams in the competition, while a diverse group of sporting teams and artists including Soak and Best Boy Grip have offered their backing.

Maeve O’Neill from the Rainbow Project said there has been a great response ahead of the five-a-side tournament, which is one of the highlights of this year’s Foyle Pride Festival.

Football v Homphobia will take place at Bishop’s Field in Creggan on Friday, August 23.

Maeve, who will herself be taking to the pitch at the tournament, having been a keen footballer from a young age, said:

“The response has been fantastic. As well as people who can play at the tournament a lot of people are supporting it as well.

“It is really important the message doesn’t get lost in terms of this issue of homophobia in sport. Homphobia is rife in sport, particularly in football and that support is a powerful tool to help overcome this. Role models are really important, particularly in sport, because people really look up to them. It really does bring people together as well, communities who wouldn’t normally come together, to show we will not accept homophobia.

The Foyle Pride programme will see an array of events from August 20 to 28. The Foyle Pride Festival Parade will take place on Saturday, August 27, departing from Waterside Railway Station at 2pm. There will be entertainment from Encore Choir, Susie-Blue, Fireworks Dance Group as well as family fun in Cafe Soul in the city centre.