Fans For Diversity supports women's football on a memorable weekend
Fans For Diversity enjoyed a wonderful weekend in September (24-25) as it supported two women’s football events at the professional and grassroots levels of the game.
The Fans For Diversity campaign is a joint-led initiative launched by Kick It Out and the Football Supporters’ Federation (FSF) in March 2014, which helps to encourage and facilitate fan-led activity that celebrates equality and diversity in football.
On Saturday (24th), Fans For Diversity helped to fund the #playingforkicks tournament organised by Boiler Room Ladies FC, the women’s team of the popular online music broadcasting platform.
The tournament saw eight 5-a-side women’s teams take part in a full day of football, fun and music of the highest quality, with an all-female DJ line-up of Boiler Room Ladies past and present playing sets in their Fans For Diversity t-shirts.
Hosted at the Lucozade Power League in Shoreditch, #playingforkicks raised nearly £1500 for charitable organisation Women In Sport.
Trisha Lewis, chief organiser and manager of the victorious Boiler Room Ladies team on the day, explained why she contacted Anwar Uddin, lead on the Fans For Diversity campaign, to support the event.
“After researching Fans For Diversity, I could see that the backbone of the organisation had the same ethos that we believe in and I wanted to showcase this by organising a ‘for women, by women’ charity football tournament.”
Trisha thoroughly enjoyed the day and was delighted with how it went.
“In all honesty, I could not have asked for a better debut event,” she declared. “All the teams arrived with so much enthusiasm and positive energy. I was very proud of how the crew took complete ownership of their roles on the day and made all our guests feel at ease. We were overwhelmed with the feedback.”
Anwar praised Boiler Room Ladies’ work in setting up #playingforkicks and looked forward to more events with them in future.
“They’ve worked really hard to put on this tournament and I’m glad Fans For Diversity had the opportunity to support a grassroots football event for women. Our relationship with Boiler Room Ladies has been building for a while now and it’s fantastic that we’ve managed to come together for a relaxed day of football and music.”
Birmingham Ladies FC
Elsewhere on Sunday (25th), Fans For Diversity supplied resources such as t-shirts, wristbands and banners as a collection of Birmingham City men’s supporters groups came together to watch the women’s team’s final home game of the season against Liverpool Ladies.
The initiative was organised by Blues 4 All, a supporters group that Fans For Diversity helped to set up which encourages people from a diverse background to go and watch Birmingham City, and Blues Collective, a group that connects a variety of supporters groups for the men’s team.
Both groups wanted to encourage supporters of the men’s team to show their backing for Birmingham Ladies by attending the match against Liverpool – a decision welcomed by Blues Ladies, the official supporters group of the women’s team, who were also present on the day.
“These sort of events are important to bring together people from different backgrounds to support Birmingham City Ladies,” a representative said. “Hopefully many who attended their first game against Liverpool will return next season.”
A late header from Kerys Harrop helped Birmingham Ladies to a 2-1 victory over their Liverpool counterparts, leaving Blues 4 All’s Bik Singh thrilled with the result and the fantastic show of support.
“It was an enjoyable family event, everyone enjoyed the atmosphere and had a great time,” he said. “It was different experience from watching the men’s game because for the fan, there is greater intimacy and closer interaction with the players and away supporters.”
Bik went on to explain why he felt the initiative was an important one: “This was a first ever trip to a Birmingham Ladies game for Blues 4 All and the entire group.
“The appeal of this event enabled us to attract more women, children and families to the match including a local women’s support group called SWAN and for many of their members, it was also the first time they have ever been to a football match.
“This creates further interest amongst communities and provides encouraging links to grassroots football for girls that are interested in playing.”
Photo credit (#playingforkicks): Flora Maclean