THE FA KICKS OFF NEW STONEWALL PARTNERSHIP WITH
LANDMARK FIXTURE AT WEMBLEY STADIUM
The FA has today announced
it is to celebrate a significant new partnership with Stonewall, the UK’s
leading charity for lesbian, gay, bi and trans equality [LGBT], by hosting an
historic fixture at Wembley Stadium connected by EE.
The FA has invited Stonewall FC, Britain’s most successful
LGBT football club, to play a Middlesex County Football League Division One
fixture at the home of football on Friday 30 November. The match
will be the first time a regular season non-league fixture has been hosted at
the stadium and has been scheduled to celebrate The FA becoming a Stonewall
Diversity Champion and a new strategic partnership between the organisations.
Stonewall FC will take on Wilberforce Wanderers AFC in a top
of the league clash, with the game set to take place during this year’s Rainbow
Laces season – Stonewall’s campaign to help make sport everyone’s game. The
game will kick-off at 7.45pm.
Following the release of The FA’s ‘In Pursuit of Progress’
plan – which is part of the organisation’s commitment to ensure the diversity
of those leading and governing football better reflects those playing the game
– the relationship with Stonewall will include becoming a member of Stonewall’s
Diversity Champion programme, part of a new strategic partnership with the
charity to help create a game where everyone can be themselves. Stonewall will
support The FA on key areas within participation, governance, workforce
management, communications and embodiment across the game, demonstrating The
FA’s commitment to embedding LGBT inclusion across current and future business
plans and teams.
Other areas of the partnership delivery include creating an ‘Allies’
programme aimed at those involved in the national game who do not identify as
LGBT and empowering them to support lesbian, gay, bi or trans people. The FA,
with support from Stonewall, will be working to create an inclusive environment
where LGBT people are able to thrive and perform at their best.
Finally, the partnership will see The FA and Stonewall
collaborate closely in Marketing and Communications activity to embed the
inclusion messaging, both internally and externally of the organisation.
Paul Elliott, Chair of The FA’s Inclusion Advisory Board
[IAB], said: "This new relationship presents an opportunity for
football to help change hearts and minds beyond the stadia, as well as ensuring
that everyone who makes football happen feels included. Whether players,
supporters, members of the vital volunteer workforce, employees of The FA,
contract staff or anyone else connected to the game, no one should be left
behind. The principle behind this partnership therefore embraces the philosophy
that the game is for anyone, anytime, anywhere.
"The FA is extremely excited to mark this move by
welcoming Stonewall FC to play under the lights at Wembley Stadium. This is the
first time we have invited a non-league side to play a league fixture at the
home of football and it is shaping up to be a truly iconic and memorable
evening for everyone involved."
Stonewall Director of Sport, Kirsty Clarke, said:
"It’s so important that we’re now working with The FA. We need everyone
involved in the national game at every level of football, from the community to
the elite, to feel included and welcome. To have Stonewall FC invited to play
at Wembley is a symbolic demonstration by The FA and it sends a powerful
message that LGBT people are a welcome part of the football family. We now want
to see everyone who plays a part in football showing their support and helping
celebrate this momentous occasion."
Stonewall Football Club Manager, Eric Najib Armanazi, said: "Stonewall
FC is honoured and excited to be invited by The FA to play a home fixture at Wembley
Stadium. This event is a landmark moment for all those who have worked
tremendously hard to eradicate all forms of discrimination within football,
including our sponsors TeamPride. We are delighted that Stonewall FC will be
able to showcase our talent under the stadium’s famous arch. This game will
mark the pinnacle in my 12 and a half years as manager of the Club and I am
extremely thankful to all those involved that made this happen."