German fans group to take anti-homophobia campaign further afield
The German football fans network “Fußballfans gegen Homophobie” (“Football fans against homophobia”) will tour European countries such as Croatia and Greece in the next couple of months to promote the inclusive values of the sport.
The campaign, which started in Berlin back in June 2011, has been touring around football grounds in Germany, Switzerland and Austria making a clear stand against discriminatory behaviour by unfurling a large purple banner with the inscription “Football fans against Homophobia”.
The announcement that the campaign would cross new borders came on 19 April during the Croatian league fixture between NK Zagrebs and NK Zadar. The “Bijeli Andeli” (“White Angels”), a fan group of NK Zagreb, is the only one with an explicit anti-discriminatory agenda in the country and has asked the campaign to join them.
After visiting the Croatian capital, the campaign will head to Greece and work alongside the amateur team Proodeutiki Toumpas.
“We are overwhelmed being asked by White Angels to come along. It was perfectly clear for us that we had to support them,” said Martin Endemann spokesman of the campaign.
With the help of Football Supporters Europe (FSE) through their Pro Supporters Project, White Angels also organised on the eve of the game a conference to formally introduce the campaign.
The German network that is comprised of members from 40 different clubs, started as an initiative to tackle homophobia in football during the 2011 Football Against Racism in Europe (FARE) Network Action Weeks carried out by the fans of Tennis Borussia Berlin and the lesbian and gay association Berlin-Brandenburg project “SOCCER SOUND”.
The Alerta Network, an international anti-fascist and anti-racist movement of football fans, has also been campaigning against homophobia in football as part of their Action Days in different German cities.
In Hamburg, the fans of St. Pauli preformed a choreographed display of rainbow colored placards and a banner reading “Love Whoever You Want — Fight Homophobia” during a match.
In other parts of the stadium, banners and balloons saying “Football fans against Homophobia” and “It’s OK to be Gay” were on show. In Babelsberg, the Alerta Action Day was also marked by a choreographed display of an anti-homophobic banner reading “All you need is love”.
Moreover, the German Football Association (DFB) has announced new measures to tackle homophobia in domestic football through a guide with procedures on how clubs can help gay footballers to come out in an inclusive and respectful environment.